Posts Tagged ‘Gliding Soles Book’

Patrick Wehner Inspires Keith St. Onge

Friday, August 17th, 2012

Patrick Wehner. Who is he, one might ask.

He is one of the BEST BAREFOOT WATER SKIERS the sport has ever seen!  If you don’t know him or have ever met him he is one of the most modest people you will ever meet.  His mother is from France and his father (world renowned coach) Hilmar is from Germany.  Patrick has skied for Team France and Germany in his career and has won many individual World Titles.  He has put endless hours of training in on the water and has a deep love for the sport.

Patrick Wehner "One of the Greats"

I met Patrick for the first time at my first World Competition in 1996.  We did not speak to each other much during the competition, but our respect for one another was mutual.  He was a better skier than me and we were close to the same age.  Young men amongst the best in the world.  Patrick and I saw each other at many world championships and began a great friendship.  It’s hard to describe how two people can be such close friends and live so far apart.  I’m in Florida and he’s in Europe, but whenever we connect, time fades away.

I had taken 3rd Overall in 1998, came runner up (2nd) for the Overall title at the world championships in 2000 and 2002.  Over the course of six years, I just couldn’t seal the deal as a World Champion.  It was a tough break for me and a hard pill to swallow, but I simply did not ski to my capability.  One night after the 2002 Worlds, Patrick and I were discussing my continued losses and I broke down and cried.  I was completely depressed and did not want to finish my career without having at least one World Title under my belt.  It seemed like the task was impossible.

Patrick reached in his wallet and pulled out a card. He handed it to me.   It was a quote by William Arthur Ward: “If you can imagine it, you can achieve it.  If you can dream it, you can become it.”    Another barefooter, John Pennay gave it to Patrick during his own low point in life.  John told him to keep the card until he achieved his dreams and then pass it on to someone else.   This simple quote got me motivated again!  Because I had so much respect for Patrick, it was a memento which meant a lot coming from him.  I kept the card in my wallet and read it from time to time; to remind me of what I needed to accomplish.

The card with the Inspirational Quote that Patrick Wehner gave to me.

Nothing else seemed to matter after that moment but one thing: I wanted to become a World Champion!  It was time for me to change the way I looked at life and how I would prepare myself for the next world championship.  I was going to give it everything I had, because I could “Imagine” it and I had “Dreamed” about it for several years!  I was going to make sacrifices and do whatever needed to be done.

Motivating Quote that Inspired me to Fulfill my dreams

Keith StOnge, Even Burger & Patrick Wehner. I received the card later that evening.

It didn’t happen overnight; in 2004, I still came in second once again behind David Small.  I was so disappointed.  This guy beat me two worlds in a row and he was standing in front of my dream.

It took another two years and many more life changes before I finally achieved my dream: in 2006 I won my first World Championship. I passed the card on to someone else.  The card went on to yet another barefooter after that.

The 2006 World Overall Champion, Keith St Onge

Keith St Onge receiving his 1st Overall World Title

Thank you Patrick Wehner for keeping me motivated until I reached my goal.  You are more than a great friend and “One of the Best!”  You are the true example of how we can all help OTHERS around us in our lives. Thank you!!

Click here to read another story on Patrick Wehner

This story and more can be found in greater detail in my upcoming book, “Gliding Soles, Lessons from a Life on Water” to be released in September, 2012.

By: Keith St.Onge
www.worldbarefootcenter.com
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