FPdGi Awards

Valentín Fuster, Pau Gasol and Teresa Perales reveal the secrets of their success

The NBA star confesses that when he was young he was told he was no good at basketball


Cardiologist Valentín Fuster, basketball player Pau Gasol and Paralympic swimmer Teresa Perales have opened the 2018 Princess of Girona Foundation Awards ceremony, presided over by Their Majesties the King and Queen of Spain, at the Espai Mas Marroch –  El Celler de Can Roca’s events centre.

Moderated by Spanish National Radio journalist Pepa Fernández, the three guest speakers revealed the secrets of their success in their respective careers and the values that have accompanied them throughout their journeys. Fuster regretted that “we are losing our young people and then we are negligent because we criticise them”; Gasol remembered that his best advice was “be grateful for what you have and don’t limit yourself”; and Perales underlined the importance of having challenges in life “because it’s what keeps us alive”.

Furthermore, during the opening dialogue, Gasol also admitted that when he was a child he wasn’t very good at playing basketball, but that “with eagerness, enthusiasm and determination” he began to develop his skills in this sport: “Basketball is a journey”. “When you’re told that you can’t do it, it has a real impact on you. That type of input of telling someone that they are no good at something has to be transformed” insisted the sportsman, who was the first Spaniard to play an All Star Game.

Fuster urged the audience to talk to their children and grandchildren “in a positive way”: “if there is something negative to be said, you must know how to present it in a positive way”. Moreover, he revealed why he decided to become a cardiologist: “My tutor had a heart attack at the age of 42 and he said to me: this is a subject that I do not know enough about and I want you to become an expert in it”. And now he is the only cardiologist to have received the four awards presented by the four main international cardiology organisations.

Perales recognised that, when she found herself in a wheelchair, she decided to replace judo with swimming: “I swapped kicks for strokes”. And when faced with difficulties, according to the Paralympic swimmer, “there are only two options: complain and protest or just get on with it”. And a phrase that really affected her was something her trainer said to her when she first started out in the swimming world: “You are a rough diamond that needs to be polished”. “And that sentence changed my life”.

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