Citius, Altius, Fortius

A photo from the World University Nationals in Israel.

A photo from the World University Nationals in Israel.

“Citius, Altius, Fortius”  (“Faster, Higher, Stronger”)  ~Olympic Motto

With the Winter Games right around the corner this is the perfect time for a championship-caliber “Teacher Feature!”  Ms. Natalie Johnson (also a Wayzata graduate) is one of our talented P.E. teachers.  She participated in the 2012 Olympic trials for weight-lifting and her story is an inspiration.

Going into the 2012 trials Natalie felt she’d be a long-shot…and she was.  When it came time for the Clean-and-Jerk event she came up just short of lifting 90 kilos (almost 200 pounds).  This wasn’t enough, but she knew she was close!  Natalie also shared that the 90 kilo mark is significant because the way the plates (weights) are loaded on the bar changes.  At 90 kilos it jumps up to a 25 kilo red plate and a 10 kilo green plate essentially making a person look much stronger and cooler than lifting one single weight per side.

After the competition, Natalie went back home and trained; a month later she went to the University Nationals where she earned a trip to Israel!  She was able to out-total her competitors and traveled to the World University Championships.

Natalie reflected upon a few milestones along her journey by sharing that she wasn’t the fastest or most coordinated student in school, but the amazing teachers in Wayzata Public Schools helped train and develop her skills and strengths.

Now she  helps students that may not be the most physically fit or confident find their inner-champion.  The video below is one of her favorite Olympic commercials…and now it’s one of mine too!

Here’s to bringing out the champion in each and every one of our students!


“The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well.” ~Olympic creed.


About Dr. Brad Gustafson

I am an elementary principal and author in Minnesota. You can connect with me at or on Twitter via @GustafsonBrad

Posted on January 10, 2014, in Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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