As we wind down the 21st Winter Olympics, the U.S. Olympic Committee passed along a piece of the blueprint for No. 22 and beyond:
An Olympic journey begins with a single step. It's that first one toward a goal that's the most important.
For every one of the medals earned by U.S. Olympians in Vancouver and Whistler, there was that first step on the frozen ponds of Minnesota, the ice sheets in Wisconsin, the rinks of Boston and the hills and jumps in Steamboat Springs.
They all asked those first questions about how to be an Olympian to a parent or a coach. How do I take that first step?
And the answers came. "So you want to be a bobsledder, Steve? Do you know where Lake Placid is located?
"Well, Apolo, You want to learn how to skate? Vancouver is a pretty good place for a kid to learn.
"OK Lindsey, you might want to ski on that little hill in Minnesota?
"Shaun, you ought to learn how to spin around a couple of times, add a few twists and give it a good name, like the double MacTwist. Dude, that'd be Cool."
After watching the Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver and Whistler and reading about the heroes on the ice and snow, millions of kids in living rooms and back yards around America are asking the same questions.
"How do I get involved? How can I get on the United States Olympic Team."
If a soldier with six medals in the Army and a degenerative eye disease can pilot the USA bobsled to a gold medal in the Olympics, so can you.
If a young African-American skater from Chicago can win two gold medals in speedskating, you can too.
If a California skateboarder can be the best there has ever been in snowboarding, you can too.
You can be an Olympian. All it takes is a dream, some conviction ... and, most importantly, taking that first step.
And it doesn't matter where you live. There are hockey players from Simi Valley, Calif., speedskaters from Miami and Houston, bobsledders from Georgia. All found their way to Vancouver and the Olympic Games.
In this case, that first step is a phone call or getting online and checking out a Web site.
The U.S. Olympic Committee is made up of a variety of organizations, including Olympic sports federations, also known as National Governing Bodies. There are eight of these for Olympic Winter Sports.
These federations would love to get those youngsters involved in their sports. But, first you have to ask.
For all those kids interested in becoming the next Shani, Apolo, Shaun, Lindsey, Bode or Steve, take the first step. Get on a Web site and find out how to get involved. Make a phone call, go to the library.
One day you could be on that podium. Or you could just have fun in your neighborhood. Either way, you'll be a winner.