Watch Davis Phinney acceptance speech at the Endurance Sports Awards.
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Davis Phinney's Acceptance Speech at the ESA Awards
Bob Babbit: He dominated the U.S. Cycling scene like no one else in his career span two decades. They called him the “cash register” because of those sprints, you knew that Davis Phinney was going to win it. He won stages at the Tour de France, U.S. pro title, a bronze medal to 84 Olympics in 100-kilometer team time trial and as a member of team 7-11, he helped open the door for Americans to raise in Europe. Check out a little bit on Davis Phinney.
Host: Here are some familiar pictures, Davis Phinney, arms towards the sky were in victory. He’s the winningest male rider in Coors Classic history. So successful, they call him “The Cash Register.”
Bob Babbit: Our cycling legend and incomparable, Davis Phinney.
Davis Phinney: All right, thank you. See, I see this and it reminds me of what I got to do so much for --you said on the tape, that was kind of fun. Everybody should do that. You know we’re to great regularity is just go yes. You know just whatever like your toes comes up and it’s not burnt. Yes. You can make a victory out of anything, I'm telling you. But, I'm really happy to be here. Bob’s been asking me to come out for a few years and sorry, I'm so shaky. I can't touch anything or everything that shakes apart but I used to not be so nervous but then my nerves are shattered.
But, anyway, you finally you got me here. When I agreed, I didn’t know that I’d be coming from Italy which I came from yesterday. And that sort of explain to my faux pas tonight because the first guy I ran into is Will Ferrell. And, I'm like, “Hi! How are you doing” and I go, “You know, do I know you because you look really familiar” and he’s just looking at me like, “Are you from Mars?” Jesus! Sorry, Will. So anyway, so that out of the way.
It’s fun to look back at the glory days. That tape actually done ten years ago and explained some of the footage from the 0238 classic which was very big rise in my career and some of the stuff in the tour de France. God, this is really like bugs. You need that bug ass thing like attack this microphone so but anyway, sorry.
Bob Babbit: We’ll hold this thing.
Davis Phinney: Yeah, thank you. Okay, I need my team around me.
Bob Babbit: We’re team Phinney.
Davis Phinney: Cycling is a team sport. But, okay let me see if I can get to this. So, where were we? Cycling team.
Bob Babbit: Italy.
Davis Phinney: Italy. Anyway, but when I look at that stuff and I look at the old days and I said a lot of good things in that tape about what cycling meant to me then. But, you look at it differently as you go on in your life and little was I to know that some little crash there, I got a few stitches was going to be nothing compared to what I deal with now. And yet, I still enable to look back on what was so pivotal in my life and experience of being an endurance athlete, of being a cyclist.
And, one of the real lessons that I learned from being and endurance athlete, because I wasn’t -- I had no endurance by nature, I was very fast. I want to get it done with everything really quickly. I wanted to get to the finish line of everything and just like yes. But, what I learned from years of doing long races and long, hard training was to have patience. And, I think that that’s something that’s -- that I didn’t really appreciate. When I was younger was that I was developing this patience about the process and about getting things done.
And now, I have Parkinson’s disease and so I'm forced to have tremendous patience to do the simplest things, to just like I have to have Paul Huddle get my -- do my tuck button on my shirt because my hands don’t work. I can't do it and yet, I don’t look at it as something that why it was me. And, I feel very strong in where I am with this disease because of my background as an athlete and because of what I was able to accomplish as a cyclist. And, I had some great conversations with some folks tonight especially Scott Tinley about what happens when the door closes and you got to look around for other windows.
And, things can look pretty bleak but there’s always those windows and I really feel fortunate in my life as I did when I was an athlete. I almost feel more fortunate now because I'm able to find new ways to express myself that aren’t through my physical capacity. They -- it’s just not there anymore. It doesn’t work. And so, to me a very interesting challenge and it’s one that I look forward to taking on.
And, I would just say that for all of you out there, everybody has challenges. And, maybe it’s just to win the Ironman or to win your age group, maybe it’s just that simple which I can now say -- which I wouldn’t have said ten years ago was that it’s just that simple to win a race. But, in the big skim of life, anything can be a victory and I think that it’s really important to always acknowledge the fact that on any given day, anything that you view, maybe it’s the smile of your child or it’s a good training 0625 or something but you should acknowledge it and you should always just keep it one of those.
So, you guys are an awesome bunch especially the tri-athletes. So, I had such a great privilege to get to know and train with in the 80s and the 90’s in Boulder. And, competitor in OLN -- OLN is just awesome. They have done so much for alternative sports.
And lastly, I've got my little camera here because I need to document this because my daughter who’s eight said -- I said, “Yeah, I got to go all the way back to America and get a 0717.” She goes, “Oh, Daddy, are you going to get in the Hall of Fame like Mommy?” And, I said, “No, sweetie. I'm not going to get in the Hall of Fame.” My wife’s in like five Hall of Fames and so she goes, “Oh!” And, I go, “But no, but it’s really big deal, honey. You’ll see, ill bring back pictures.” So here, I've got my video camera. I pressed on. Everybody hands up. Thank you very much.
Bob Babbitt: What an incredible evening! Thank you so much for joining us. For Mike Reilly, I'm Bob Babbitt and we’ve enjoyed being your hosts for the evening. We’ll see you next year for more great athletes and even more great stories.