Leah Smith — Excellence

Tag: Excellence

Leah Smith — Excellence

Leah+Smith+Olympic+Gold+MedalA Pittsburgh Native’s Commitment to Excellence

A March 2013 Athlete of the Week television spot from WTAE, features now Olympic Bronze and Gold Medal winner Leah SmithWTAE’s Mike Clark again featured Leah in an interview only a few weeks ago that moved us to throw in our 2 cents as well!  At RTSGC we feel it is important to seek out and laud Commitment to Excellence wherever we find it!  In this case, Leah is extra special to us because she is not only a Western Pennsylvania native with extremely deep roots but also an Oakland Catholic High School graduate (GO OC!).  We LOVE everything Family and everything Pittsburgh!!

Leah’s focus on excellence comes, in great part, from her family.  In only her second year at the University of Virginia, her commitment and that special excellence derived from her family resulted in the continuation of a family legacy at UVA.  Her finishing time in the 500 freestyle at the NCAA Championships set a collegiate record and her time in the 1,650 freestyle set UVA and ACC records as well.  This is follow-up to her father’s silver medal winning pole vault in an ACC Championship match.

From her “All in the Family” article in UVA MAGAZINE, Errin Whack wrote:  Competing at the highest level might be in Smith’s DNA.  Because of his competitive streak, Smith’s great-grandfather Jimmy Smith, who was an infielder for the Cincinnati Reds, holds the distinction of being the only player ejected from the 1919 World Series, for tirelessly heckling White Sox second baseman Eddie Collins.  Smith’s great-uncle, boxer “The Pittsburgh Kid” Billy Conn, fought Joe Louis for the heavyweight championship twice.  In his first fight he lost by a knockout in the last round, even though he was well ahead of Louis on points.  His second challenge to Louis, a knockout loss in the ninth round, was the first televised heavyweight championship.  Smith recalled being inspired as a young girl by her relatives’ athletic feats, poring over old newspaper clippings, and admiring trophies – including those belonging to her father, Dan.  “I definitely think it made me want to be like my dad and have the same success that he did,” Smith says. “I used it to motivate me in the pool.”

What greater testament to her father and her family could Leah possible be?!  We salute her, her accomplishments, and her family.  Congratulations Leah Smith!

“Ground truth…”

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