Yes, that picture IS Sylvester Stallone, and it's not Photoshop. The redhead in the front is Jane Bridge, his body guard and the first woman in History to win the gold medal, world championship in Judo.
Winners have always fascinated me. How does that feel to stand there on the podium reaching a summit of elite status? What happens after, once you have been crowned THE BEST... A WORLD CHAMPION? It is always a flow of uncontrollable emotion to see them go across the finish line, receive an award or that jump for joy when they know they did it! Imagining their mother: blazing with pride!
So imagine my SHOCK when I met Jane Bridge, in a Laundromat +22 years ago in Paris! I didn't know much about Judo but she had been on the podium at Madison Square Garden in NYC - my hometown!
Meeting Jane Bridge this way, randomly in a dingy Laundromat, in the poorest area of Paris was life changing for me. We were both doing any odd job to support ourselves, our passions... she was working in a restaurant as a waitress and the occasional gig as a body guard to the stars at the Cannes film festival and was teaching Judo on the side; I was teaching English while studying in Paris and producing my play "Jig of Life". Being around Jane just made me feel everything in life was possible. Whenever I introduced Jane to friends and said “ you know, Jane was world champion Judo”, I could see that I was not alone: the idea of being a winner is something BIG!
But what was Jane Bridge, the first woman to win a gold medal in 1980 at Madison square garden in NYC, doing living in the same conditions as me? I was sure that once you achieved such a status as world champion your future would be guaranteed. Wasn't being the bodyguard to Sylvester Stallone better money then what I was living on as a teacher?
In fact, we had a lot in common! We were English speaking expatiates, living in Paris, living on next to nothing and doing our laundry in a public Laundromat. And we both had bad boyfriend stories! I was thinking, “if I was world champion in judo, I would be flipping guys left and right” what power! She thought that was pretty funny and actually it was often me who walked Jane home, to be sure she made it back OK, when dinner was at my place.
“A Winner’s Journey” is that story: of inspiration that drives you to be the best, of opportunities that you just say YES and don't think too much of the impact it will have on the rest of your life, and of how much we may all have in common. In fact Champions that have gone to what would appear to be the ultimate goal is, as with many of the events that happen in our lives, a stepping stone in the journey. Is it sacrifice to be a Champion, as we imagine? or is it just another life track with different challenges.
For Jane winning the gold medal was not the goal, it was a result of certain opportunities, choices, changes and situations that brought her to this. Just as the situations that brought us both to France. Her philosophy of life and practice have made her a reference in Judo, yet the journey is not one that I would have imagined for a world champion.
“A Winner’s Journey” is a personal heartwarming portrait of an exceptional woman that will leave you feeling closer to what a winner feels, what makes them different and what in fact is very much the same as you and I.
And we need your help:
We have about half of the film recorded and with your help we will shoot the final scenes and edit for 2012 summer Olympics, where winning the gold is on everyone's mind! With Your help we can finish filming, get back in the editing studio and finish up.
Thank you for reading and we hope you will join us on the journey of a winner.
- (60 days)