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“There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure”

—Colin Powell


In 1976 while training for the Olympic Team, Stephen was struck by a hit-and-run driver. Doctors gave Stephen a 5% chance to live; thus, many presumed that he would not complete college or compete again as a determined, competitive runner. Stephen said to his mom, “Do they know who they are talking to; I’m Stephen Heidenreich. Don’t tell me what I can't do, I will complete college and compete again” Stephen sized up the academic and athletic challenge that was ahead of him. With determination, he set off courageously Running Back to his life before the accident.
Stephen applied effective strategies, successful training techniques, and leadership skills to his life’s physical and mental challenges due to the accident’s damage. Despite the tremendous challenge, Stephen was not only able to regain his life but went on to complete his undergraduate degree, an MBA at the prestigious Indiana University Kelley School of Business and trained for the 1980 Olympic team. His journey has been an experience of perseverance, grit and a real test of faith. 
Halls of Fame:
• South Dakota Sports Hall of Fame, Sioux Falls, SD
• Indiana University Athletics Hall of Fame, Bloomington, IN
• Watertown High School Hall of Fame, Watertown, SD
• Dakota Relays Hall of Fame, Sioux Falls, SD

In 1975, Stephen Heidenreich competed on the USA Track Team in Kiev for the USA vs. USSR international competition.


Stephen with his two high school coaches at the South Dakota Sports Hall of Fame.


Stephen next to the sign for 1974 World Record 4x 1 Mile Relay team.

The Olympic Spirit: Heidenreich’s Life Shaped By Competition

By Sam Beishuizen,

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