All I ever wanted really, and continue to want out of life, is to give 100 percent to whatever I'm doing and to be committed to whatever I'm doing and then let the results speak for themselves. Also to never take myself or people for granted and always be thankful and grateful to the people who helped me.
There are many women who came before me who didn't really have the same opportunities that I have had. That's why I always wanted to be a great ambassador - not only today's generation - but for the women who really didn't have a voice, but who paved the way for me.
I have this burning desire to get out there and do my best. It's as if I'm keeping it all in a little bottle, and it's all going to come out when I do the best I'm capable of doing.
What people need to know is that asthma isn't a minor 'wheeze-disease.' It kills over five thousand people in America every year, and I could've been one of them.
Some people are embarrassed to say they came from East St. Louis, Ill., but now more people want to claim it. I grew up in a community center and I knew what it gave me. I always knew I wanted to give back and help people because people helped me.
We live in a world where sports have the potential to bridge the gap between racism, sexism and discrimination. The 2012 Olympic Games was a great start but hopefully what these games taught us is that if women are given an opportunity on an equal playing field the possibilities for women are endless.
I was diagnosed with asthma when I was 18 during my freshman year at UCLA. I refused to accept it - and I hid it from my coaches and teammates. But ignoring my problem didn't make it go away.
Competing in both track and field and basketball for the Bruins I have a lot of great memories to choose from. But my all-time favorite moment in collegiate sports has to be in 1982 when we won UCLA's first NCAA title in track.
My denial and irresponsible attitude about asthma put me at great risk and caused me so much needless suffering. My hope is that the kids I talk to learn to open up about their asthma, become educated about their condition, and seek help.
Even though I'm not a competitive athlete, I have to still maintain things and try to keep myself fit because I am at that age where I need to make sure to get those regular checkups and make sure everything is in tact.
I'm a realist and I always have been. Quality training is what I do now; before it was a combination of both quality and quantity. Now I'm not trying to be a world-class athlete, I don't need to train at that level. It's about being fit, fit for life.
It's important to me to try and expose young people to the things they believe are off-limits to them. I tell them, 'There are no walls, only the ones we put up.' My advice to young people looking at my life is not to follow my footprint but to go out there and make their own.
Your environment doesn't define you. I don't have a lot of money, but I can help train people and I can talk to people. We can all be mentors to the next generation.
I do not take steroids. I never have. It's sad to me that people want to point fingers. I don't do that. That's not me. I wouldn't feel like a human being.
Growing up in the time of Title IX - it was passed when I was 10 - I got a front-row seat to so many great moments in women's sports. Of course I didn't know it at the time.
I don't think there is a perfect athlete. But if I had to come close to picking someone who demonstrates all the traits that I feel an athlete should have, I would say the perfect athlete would be Tiger Woods. He has the ability, he's humble and he's very good at what he does.
The London games mark the 24th anniversary of my winning two golds and setting the world record in the heptathlon. Someone is going to want it; records are made to be broken - it's only a matter of time. I hope mine will outlive me.
When I started competing, you had to have your coach there. Now you can be coached from a home office via Skype or video. That's not the same as having them on the field with you.
Quality training is what I do now; before it was a combination of both quality and quantity. Now I'm not trying to be a world-class athlete, I don't need to train at that level. It's about being fit, fit for life.
I always have been trying to work on the other side of Jackie, and that is, making sure that my appearance, that my image, is right; also, working in the job world, knowing how it is to wake up and go to a job.