Staying the Course: USOPF Trustees Gayla and Kevin Compton
|As trustees of the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Foundation, the Compton family cheered on Team USA at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games.|
Competition and sport have long been cornerstones of Gayla and Kevin Compton’s lives.
In fact, Kevin once competed in track & field at the Amateur Athletic Union Junior Olympic Games. Today, he remains moved to have had the chance to wear the Team USA jersey as an athlete.
“Youth sports, professional sports, and competition at any level and in any form have provided us the simple satisfaction of activity and the drive of competition,” Kevin said. “They’ve also been influential drivers in all aspects of our lives.”
Hailing from Palo Alto, California, the Comptons first attended the Olympic Winter Games in Calgary, Canada, in 1988 – and they have attended nearly every Olympic Games since.
“Kevin and I agree that the United States Olympic Team begins with an individual athlete’s commitment,” Gayla said. “The dedication of the athlete to play his or her role on the Team, to be the best he can be so that the Team can be the best it can be, is the bedrock of the Olympic Movement.”
Gayla and Kevin believe strongly in supporting and developing leadership skills both for today and into the future. Kevin, a venture capitalist, has invested in information technology via a partnership in Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, and Radar Partners. Gayla has been involved in business and creative arts, particularly writing.
The Comptons, however, also value leadership beyond their professional pursuits.
As trustees of the the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Foundation (USOPF), they offer their guidance and support in advancing the Olympic and Paralympic Movements in the United States.
In addition, Gayla and Kevin eagerly support the use of technology, innovation and research for improved athletic performance. Kevin serves on the newly-formed USOPF Technology and Innovation working group, while the couple has also directed a gift to fund the United States Olympic Committee’s Competitive Analysis, Research and Innovation program. Through their funding, the program’s senior director, Peter Vint, has been able to secure access to the world’s most comprehensive sport results database in a contract with Infostrada Sports.
“We are highly encouraged and impressed with the work that Peter Vint has been doing,” Kevin said. “Knowledge and proper use of information gleaned from years of Olympic endeavor can only serve to enhance the overall performance of the Team.”
Such support of the Competitive Analysis, Research and Innovation program helps advance the USOC’s mission of achieving sustained competitive excellence for U.S. Olympians, Paralympians and hopefuls in a direct and meaningful way.
And for the Comptons, there are few causes more inspiring than the Olympic and Paralympic Movements. Kevin often recalls one of his favorite Olympic moments, during the race-walking event of the Sydney 2000 Games.
“During that event, a young Aussie walker was in the final throes of what was certain victory. But in the last stretch through the tunnel, she misstepped and was disqualified,” Kevin said. “Still, she finished, because that’s what she had trained for – what her team expected and needed from her.”
Gayla notices similar commitment by Paralympic athletes competing on the world stage.
“In the Paralympics, athletes use the term ‘able-bodied’ to distinguish athletes with no disabilities from themselves,” Gayla said. “Yet they are able to use the bodies they have to meet and exceed even their own expectations – because that is what their teams need and expect from them.”
The Comptons are truly valuable ambassadors of the Olympic and Paralympic Movements in the United States. Their commitment matches that of the athletes that train each day in hopes of representing Team USA at the Games.
“The value of competition, setting a goal and using one’s ultimate focus of intellect, athleticism and drive – these are the standards of the United States Olympic Committee,” Gayla said. “We are proud and enthusiastic members of that community and are committed wholeheartedly to staying the course.”