Breakfast with Fosbury and Friends welcomes one of the world’s greatest athletes, Olympic Gold Medalist Dan O’Brien

For Immediate Release

Date: January 24, 2019

Contact: Taylor Meeks (208) 840-1426


Breakfast with Fosbury and Friends welcomes one of the world’s greatest athletes, Olympic Gold Medalist Dan O’Brien

Pocatello, Idaho

Officially recognized as the “World’s Greatest Athlete,” Olympic Gold Medalist Dan O’Brien is the 2019 keynote speaker for Breakfast with Fosbury and Friends. Each year, one Olympian is given the opportunity by Simplot Games to speak to the attendees at this special event.

O’Brien competed in the decathlon, which takes place over two days and consists of ten events: the 100-meter dash, long jump, shot put, high jump, 400-meter dash, 110-meter hurdles, discus, pole vault, javelin, and 1,500-meter run.

He is a five-time U.S. champion, three-time world champion, and seven-year world record holder. After failing to make the Olympics from a well-publicized “no height” in the pole vault during the trials in 1992, O’Brien made a comeback four years later, winning gold at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta.

“I learned how to accept losing and failure and how to move on from it,” O’Brien said. “Throughout my whole sport life, I got accustomed to losing because I always felt that I had a greater victory down the road. I never really let the losses affect me, not even in high school or my early days of college. I was able to deal with those defeats and because of that I was able to deal with that large adversity later on in life.”

Having conquered many hardships throughout his life, O’Brien will speak at the breakfast about overcoming adversity, setting goals and never letting them go, and believing in yourself.

O’Brien was adopted at the age of two and grew up with seven other racially-mixed children in Oregon. Growing up in such a unique family taught him how to have an accepting, open heart and not to judge others based on their looks or first impressions.

“I think just growing up in that family, it opened my senses to a peaceful existence,” O’Brien said. “I felt that this was the family that chose me, so I chose not to find my biological parents. I always felt comfortable with the family that I was brought up with. They have always been really supportive of my athletic career.”

He attended the University of Idaho from 1984 to 1989. During his years of training for the Olympics, O’Brien was coached by Idaho’s Mike Keller and Washington State University’s Rick Sloan, commuting back and forth between the cities of Moscow and Pullman.

One of the hardest obstacles O’Brien has had to overcome is recovering from one of the most publicized failures in sports history. During the 1992 Olympic trials, he was a part of a Reebok advertising campaign along with fellow competitor Dave Johnson. The name of the campaign was “Dan & Dave,” and the idea behind the ubiquitous ad was to determine who was the world’s greatest athlete.

O’Brien failed the Olympic qualifications, as well as the Reebok campaign, after missing a height of 15’9” on pole vault. Though he performed outstandingly the next day in his events, he didn’t score high enough to make it to the Barcelona Summer Olympics.

“At the time, it was pretty devastating because I was the best in the world,” O’Brien said. “I felt that I should have been on that Olympic team and had my chance to win gold, but when I look back on it now it might have been the best thing that could ever happen to me because it really made me a better athlete. Four years later I came back, and I won in Atlanta. Between 1992 and 1996 I was unbeatable, and I think it was because of that failure in 1992.”

He went on to win the 1993 and 1995 World Championships, the 1994 Goodwill Games, and three U.S. championships – all leading to the 1996 Olympic gold medal in Atlanta.

O’Brien is beyond ecstatic to be back in Idaho for the 2019 Simplot Games. The last time he attended Simplot Games was 15 years ago.

“I am excited to come back because I do want to continue to share my story with young people and I haven’t been back to Idaho in a long time,” O’Brien said. “I just love what Simplot Games has been able to do for youth, especially youth track and field athletes, for so many years.”

Don’t miss out on more insight from Dan O’Brien at the 2019 Breakfast with Fosbury and Friends on February 15, at 7:15 a.m., in Idaho State University’s Student Union Ballroom. To purchase tickets call (208) 235-5604 or visit


More than 2,200 athletes will come from across the U.S., Canada, Australia and New Zealand to participate in the 41stannual Simplot Games. Simplot Games remains the nation’s premier high school indoor track and field event. Sponsored by the J.R. Simplot Company since 1979, the Simplot Games are held at Idaho State University’s Holt Arena in Pocatello, Idaho.

For more information on Simplot Games, please visit our website at You may also contact Lisa Woodland at (208) 235-5604 or Simplot Games Media Team at


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