Olympic motivational speaker Ruben Gonzalez

Alexander Cushing – 1913 – 2006, Founder of Squaw Valley Ski Resort

September 2006

I just got back from Reno, Nevada where Zig Ziglar and I got to speak for a terrific audience of about 4000 people.

While in Reno, I got to spend some time with my good friend Michelle Nichols, Sales Columnist for Business Week. Michelle graciously drove me around Reno, and Lake Tahoe. Then she took me over to Squaw Valley, site of the 1960 Winter Olympics.


The story of how Squaw Valley was awarded the Winter Olympics shows the power of a single person with a huge dream and the willingness to take quick and massive action while ignoring nay-sayers.

Dec. 26th 1954 – Alexander Cushing read an article that stated that Reno, Nevada and Anchorage had submitted bids for the 1960 Olympics. Cushing thought bringing the Olympics to Squaw Valley would be great publicity for his brand new ski resort.

Jan. 7th 1955 (TWO WEEKS LATER) – Cushing addressed the U.S. Olympic Committee to sell them on the idea of Squaw Valley hosting the Olympics. International Olympic Committee President Avery Brundage told Cushing he must have lost his mind. Cushing was also told by IOC higher ups that he was on a wild goose chase. He was told Innsbruck would surely win the bid to host the 1960 Olympics.

Cushing refused to listen to the naysayers. He organized a powerful campaign. He lobbied for support all over the world. He had a 3000 pound model of Squaw Valley built. The model was too big to fit in the International Olympic Committee Exhibit Hall.

Cushing convinced the U.S. Ambassador to keep the model in the US Embassy building, a 15 minute walk away from where the Olympic Delegates met. Cushing walked all the delegations to see the model. This was a man who would not take NO for an answer. He convinced his prospects to walk 15 minutes each way to see his model so Cushing could give a more powerful presentation.

Do you believe enough in your product or service to inconvenience you prospects a little so they can enjoy the benefits later? Remember… it’s ALL about belief!

One by one, all the other cities bidding for the Olympics were eliminated. Finally it was down to Squaw Valley and Innsbruck.

June 17th, 1955 (6 MONTHS LATER)- The IOC chose Squaw Valley over Innsbruck by a vote of 32 to 30.

No one thought Cushing could pull it off. There are a lot of people who don’t thing you can pull off your dreams either. Who care what they think! You can prove your naysayers wrong. Start acting like Alexander Cushing did!

If you believe enough in your ideas and if you are willing to do whatever it takes for as long as it takes, you can realize your impossible dreams too!


Olympic Motivational Speaker Ruben Gonzalez