Former US Olympian reflects on how his medal changed his life

GAINES TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — A West Michigan man who won an Olympic medal during the 1984 Olympics says decades later he still remembers how that day changed his life forever.

“The 3000 meter steeplechase is a race that is almost 2 miles long. It has 35 barriers you have to jump over, seven of which have a water pit,” said Brian Diemer, a 1984 Olympic bronze medalist.

Brian Diemer grew up a runner — running for South Christian High School and the University of Michigan in college, excelling at the steeplechase.

“I was 22 when I won the bronze in 1984 in Los Angeles.”

Medal
The bronze medal that Brian Diemer won in the 1984 Olympics for the 3000 meter steeplechase. (WOOD)

A moment stained in history that would change his life and shape his future.

“After the Olympics I remember doing 14 appearances in 19 days and it just challenged me, and it helped me move on from the fear of speaking in public and allowed me to gain a lot more confidence,” said Diemer.

He went back to the Olympics two more times, but never won a medal again. However he still has a passion for running and the Olympics.

Diemer has a message for the young athletes getting ready to compete on the biggest stage in their sport.

“Number one stay focused on what you are trying to accomplish, but have fun with it. Don’t get so serious about it that a little setback derails you. You need to realize there are going to be ups and downs and challenges. You need to preserver, you need to keep at it. The race is to the ones that keep at it,” Diemer said.

Today he spends most of his time running the family business, Everett’s Landscape Management, with his brothers, sister and nephew. But he still finds time for his other passion running, by coaching track and field at Calvin College for the past 30 years.

“I do love plants, I do love plants,” Diemer said.

However when asked which he liked better — plants or running — Diemer said, “Oh probably running.”

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