Don Akers's Blog
Turning Talent Into Performance


Some of the fabulous airport volunteers!

My flight arrived in Vancouver, BC Canada YVR at 8:28 p.m. I was trying to get on a bus at 9 p.m. to get to Whistler by midnight.

I figured Customs could be a delay. But this was Vancouver. A delay at Customs? No way! They had twenty stations all manned. I chatted up the customs agent and went to pick up my luggage.

Everywhere you looked where was someone in a green or blue shirt with the words VANCOUVER 2010. Help with the luggage, directions to the bus, whatever you needed, there was a live person there ready to help.

The luggage was slow. Way slow. There was a problem with getting it off the plane. But just as I was going to check to make sure I was at the right carousel, they announced that there was a problem getting the luggage from our plane–just letting us know. The luggage was coming, but not yet.

With a little time to burn I started talking to the volunteers. They were willing to answer any questions. One volunteer even whipped out her BlackBerry and Googled why Canadian are called Canucks. Canuck is the mascot for the Vancouver hockey team. The origin of the word is up for discussion–like a lot of things on Google.

I noticed when the Customs Officers had no one in their lines they would stand and talk amongst themselves. When a new plane landed, they all went to work.

In Vancouver, they’re willing to stand around a little to make sure their guests don’t.

They could have let us wait, or figure it out on our own, but they had happy people everywhere, ready to help.

“Enjoy your Olympic experience!”

That’s what they all said as their parting words: “We hope you enjoy your Olympic experience.”

Talk about customer service. What more can you say? They save me time, make things easy for me to do, and remind me to enjoy my experience.

Vancouver is my new favorite city!


What an amazing sight as the Olympic Torch arrives in Whistler in advance of this week’s opening ceremonies.

The Olympic Torch Arrives In Whistler

A crowd of 10,000 greeted the torch!


We’re going to the Olympics ! ! !

It’s a done deal!

The Crystal Lodge in Whistler, BC

We just got our confirmations — we’ll be staying at the Crystal Lodge in Whistler Village from Feb 11 – 16, 2010.

Ruben Gonzalez (aka the lugeman!) will be racing on Feb 13 and 14.
We’ll do our last pre-performance focus routines during and after his practice runs on the 12th.

It’s my first Olympics and I’m stoked!


Glen Helen

Major personal breakthrough — I rode motocross last night faster than ever!

The only thing I’ve done differently: I’ve spent several hours pretending to ride the bike on the stand in my garage, sound effects and all!

Now the second I get on the bike I feel at home, safer, more in control, all from playing like a kid…


In Utah With Former Utah Jazz Player Mark Eaton

Had lunch with Mark Eaton, former NBA All Star. Mark played for the Utah Jazz and was the two time Defensive Player of the Year. 

In addition to playing in the 1989 All Star Game, he also broke the NBA record for the most blocked shots in a single season.

Mark is now a business and motivational speaker who talks with organizations and audiences nationwide about how he went from a 7’4″ twenty-one year old mechanic who couldn’t play basketball to a stellar twelve year career as an NBA All Star with the Utah Jazz.

Mark’s a really nice guy.  We had a great time!


January Over the Top!

The bobsled at the Olympic Sports Park. It’s loud, rough, and the walls are flying by, but it was way cool.

Bobsled at the Olympic Sports Park, Park City, Utah

The ride was over way too fast–I asked if they had a season pass!

Pat Brown, far right, the coach of the 1984 Olympic Jamaican Bobsled Team, was our driver!

Also in the picture:

Far left: Ralph O’Neil, a former motorcycle drag racer.  Next to him is  John Garrison–70 years young–a former Cobra attack helicopter pilot in Viet Nam. Next is me–the guy who thought he was the crazy one until I met the other guys.


I just got off the bobsled in Park City…. What a hoot!  We did 77 mph! Pat Brown the coach of the Jamaican Bobsled Team was our driver!  I may have found my new sport!

Pictures soon!


Oh, today I’m in the bobsled–yeah, Ruben Gonzalez goaded me into it. I’ll be flying down the mountain at over 85 mph (with a professional driver, film at 11)!

Make your life what you want it to be–we’ll always have to deal with fear, so we might as well face it down.


Ruben is sliding more confident than ever.

He’s a great student, like a sponge. We did some guided visualization in the start house before his practice runs. He’s done lots of visualization–all lugers do, but by being at the track with him I was able to see a minor flaw in how he was visualizing. We changed the structure, and he really nailed it.

He’s got his shoulders back and his steering is way better. On the way down the mountain he told me that he was having fun (rather than being fearful) for the first time in his life (he’s 47 and been luging for 26 years)!

Yeah I’m stoked–it is so cool to work with people who will listen and try what we ask of them.


Here we are at the Park City bobsled track.

From the left Ruben Gonzalez, me, and Jon Owen — a development coach for the US Luge team.

Jon made a minor adjustment to Ruben’s sled. Ruben said it was handling way better. Jon Owen and I spent a couple hours watching practice….

Ruben slid well, no crashes and his technique, timing, and control are improving. I coached Ruben through some guided imagery to create a confident state of mind for practice. After a minor injury yesterday he slide great — the track was empty — but evidence is when we win races.