Gray Horn
I believe that inside every man is a pit of masked struggles that he hides from his every day life. Society tells us to keep our pains and dilemmas to ourselves, because nobody wants to come off as weak. Appearing to be inadequate isn’t exactly the way to get ahead, so how do you cope with it? The older I get, the more my inner struggles seem to surface. But then I recognize that I’m not alone.
Gray Horn
Post Olympic Trials / Thorpe Cup

I know it’s been a while since my last post, but in my defense, I had a great one written up on my iPhone on the way to the Olympic Trials in Eugene, Oregon. When I turned my phone to “Airplane Mode” my entire post got erased right before I could post it. Just my luck.

But just to catch up, I’m currently in Charlotte, North Carolina waiting for my flight to Marburg, Germany for the 2012 Thorpe Cup. This event is 7 USA athletes against 7 German athletes, with all of their scores added up to decide the winner of the Cup. Our 2 nations have historically had some of the best athletes in the world, so it’s always promised to be a battle. 

The last month has been overwhelming in many ways. I can’t thank everyone enough for all of the support and love that I received. Sometimes I feel very isolated, being that I live alone, train alone, and since most of my friends in Gainesville are home for the summer, I spent a lot of the first few weeks of the summer by myself most of the time. So to know that I had so many people from all over backing me up gave me that spark that I needed. So I just wanted it to be known that all of you were a huge part of my recent successes, and I can’t thank you enough for that. 

In one of my previous posts “Olympic Trials Preparation”, I talked about how I wouldn’t be content with going to the meet to be a participant, and I wouldn’t be satisfied with finishing in the middle of the pack. My exact quote was “My mission the next few weeks, and for this meet that I have worked literally all my life for, is to show everyone that I’m not content with being average”. I’m glad that I didn’t have to eat those words. Though I still did not have my best performance, I still was able to come home with the bronze medal. The whole process reminded me of a time when I was a kid, just starting out in this sport.

When I was ten years old, I qualified for my first Junior Olympics. The meet was in Buffalo, New York. The family and I rented a huge motor home and made the trip. I was about as nervous as I think I ever have been. At that age, all I wanted to do was bring home one of the big shiny medals to show everyone that I was cool, even though nobody probably would have cared, but that was my process of thought lol. The top 8 placers would get one of the medals, and I had to have one. I had the best meet of my life up to that point, and I finished ninth place, one spot away.

As I stood there and watched all the other boys get their medals, and how happy and satisfied they seemed, I very clearly remember looking up at my Mom and Dad and saying “This will never happen to me again”.

And it really hasn’t, thank God. Honestly it’s never really been about the medals, it’s just a ribbon with a cheap piece of iron latched to it. Ever since I was that little dude that missed out on a medal by one place, I just wanted to be respected. I would do anything just to earn acceptance, whatever that meant. The older I get, the more obvious it is that no matter how successful you are, no matter how many people know your name, you will lose that battle. If you’re thriving, people will want to tear you down. If you’re failing, people will do their best to keep you down if you let them. You can not rely on another human being to make you happy. Sure, you can surround yourself with people who can better you, but you make your own happiness, and I’m glad that I’m finally starting to grasp that concept. 

I’ll be posting updates from Germany on my Facebook and Twitter (@GKHorn) so keep an eye out. The U.S. Team is ready to bring it home!

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.” 

Don’t shrink to your surroundings, shine like you were meant to. Have a good week everyone.

#Horn2012

Tunnel Vision

There’s something about a chill Sunday morning that gets your boy thinking, so I figured I’d share what was going through my head.

Have you ever noticed that when you put others before yourself, all of your problems just kind of seem to take care of themselves? The older I get, the more true that is. It doesn’t even have to be anything major.. Things like opening the door for someone should be common human courtesy, so think beyond that.. What really makes an impact on somebody’s day?

Sometimes I feel like we’re so wrapped up in our own mission, that we develop tunnel vision. All we can see is the next step in our own lives, and completely ignore those around us. I’m telling you firsthand that I notice myself doing this all the time. . I started to notice every morning that my prayers revolved around my athletic performance, my own dilemmas, and very rarely would I take time to add thought of the needs of others.

Even though I had that on my mind, and was trying hard to involve the needs of others in my thoughts and actions, it kind of got swept under the rug, and I continued down my own tunnel. On that note, I’ll share a story that served as my wake up call. I once knew a guy (since I don’t want to use his real name, we’ll call him Jason) that was clearly struggling. He had been in a lot of trouble, his family was frustrated with him, and he was on the verge of getting kicked out of school. It was clear that Jason needed help, but being in my own tunnel, and focused on all my own issues, I didn’t put much effort into reaching out to him. I found out the next day that he had taken his own life.

His story got a lot of attention. I learned that he was battling depression, and that he was battling severe back pains that was keeping him from doing the things he loves. It’s amazing that you never know what people are going through unless you walk in their shoes.

Of course I thought to myself, “What could I, or anybody for that matter, have said to Jason to bring his spirits up enough to change his mind about this?” The truth is, it could have been anything. We’ve all been in a situation where we needed somebody to pick us up. Nobody has their lives together so much that your kind words will have no impact.

My new mission is to impact one person’s life every day. It doesn’t matter how big or small it is. Ever since I made that commitment, my own problems that I thought I had seem to shrink. Do yourself, and others around you a favor, and kill your tunnel vision. Pay attention to people around you, because if you make an effort to impact them, you’d be surprised to see what they have to offer you in return.

In Luke 17 it is written that the kingdom of God is within all men. So do me a favor.. Put your hand on your chest. You feel your heart beating right? That’s a sign of life, meaning, and greater purpose. Use it to make those around you better, which in turn will impact your own life for the better.

Have a meaningful Sunday. #Horn2012

The truth is, until you let go, until you forgive yourself, until you forgive the situation, until you realize the situation is over, you cannot move forward.
Olympic Trials Preparation

It’s been a while since my last post, so I figured I’d update you guys on how everything is going. We’re about 3 1/2 weeks out from the 2012 Olympic Trials in Eugene, Oregon. Last year I would have told you that it’s satisfying enough just to even be able to have the chance to compete at this meet, I would have been content with any outcome, as long as I did my best. This year, I’m not sure I can still say that.

Recently, I’ve had some things happen in my life that have sparked a lot of emotions that you usually don’t see come out of me. I usually keep to myself, bottle my frustrations, and try to put on a tough mask. As most of you know, I made a big mistake on April 14th that cost me the opportunity to compete for my 4th straight SEC title, something no one has ever accomplished before. During this same time I also lost my girlfriend, someone that I cared very much about, and is something that I’m still confused about to this day.

Through all of this, it’s never been more obvious that God was slapping me in the face, doing his best to get my attention. I think I had began to be so content with how I was living, and straying down a path that I wasn’t meant to be on. It became very clear to me that I was being disciplined, and tested at the same time. I knew I had to turn all of these things over to God, and let him be the captain of my life. What also helped was reading a book called “Redemption” by one of my heroes, Bryan Clay. Bryan is the defending Olympic gold medalist in my event, the Decathlon. Knowing that he shared some of my struggles in his college years gave me hope, if he can drop his old ways and get on the path God intended for him, then why can’t I?

It’s still hurting me a lot knowing that I let my teammates, coaches, family, friends, supporters, and kids who look up to me, down because I made a selfish choice. Then on top of all of that, at the worst possible time, lost my girlfriend. My mission the next few weeks, and for this meet that I have worked literally all my life for, is to show everyone that I’m not content with being average, and that my desire is to do good things for the world, not bad. Anyone who reads this and is impacted by it, just know that if you think you’re invincible, God will show you otherwise. Humble yourself, and seek his will for you. It took me a long fall to realize that, but there will be a lot of good that will come out of this. Through all of this, I learned who really does care about me, and who really didn’t. Some of the people that ran away from me, I was really close to. I’m thankful for everyone who has stayed by my side, you guys will be the ones I show love to in the good times to come.

My training, weights, and event work have never been better. I’ll be healthy, fresh, and focused when I head to Eugene. I’ll be competing against a power house field. I really believe that I’ve been set up to succeed, and whether I make the Olympic team or not, I’ll respect the man’s plan. Because he knows what’s best.

That’s all for now. #Horn2012

Before you can change the world, you must first change yourself.
In my last post I mentioned how small I look next to Zydrunas Ilgauskas, well here it is. Keep in mind that I’m 6’4” haha.

In my last post I mentioned how small I look next to Zydrunas Ilgauskas, well here it is. Keep in mind that I’m 6’4” haha.

I figured this would be the best way to use my first post. Basically all anyone needs to know about me is in this interview.