Sheila Taromina, Olympic Gold medalist in Swimming, Triathlon World Champion and four-time Olympian (1996, 2000, 2004 and 2008) returned to NIST on 18 and 19 September 2012 to continue her work in inspiring NIST students and Thai athletes to dream big.
Sheila, the shortest swimmer to win the Olympic Gold since 1920, returned to NIST engaging students in her messages of perseverance, the overcoming of great obstacles and the self-belief required to achieve dreams. This was her second visit to NIST and Thailand - "I am looking forward to connecting with the wonderful students and people at NIST again", Sheila said. "If you have a passion, I want to convey to the students that the sky is the limit!" For Sheila, success did not come easy. On the first two attempts to qualify for the Olympics, she did not make it. Yet she felt she had it in her to race "the big girls" and did not want to give up. While working a full time job, she trained morning and evening, and eventually made it to the US Olympic team.
To enable Thai athletes who otherwise would not have a chance to work with an Olympic champion, NIST sponsored swim training for youth athletes from the Thailand Triathlon Association and Thailand Swim Association. Three members of the Thai national triathlon youth team and their coach based in Chiang Mai, as well as seven young national team swimmers and four national team swim coaches trained with Sheila on 18 and 19 September at NIST.