Magic Mountain and Measuring Sticks

Posted January 18th, 2014 at 8:12 pm (UTC-4)
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Andre Agassi lifts the Australian Open trophy for a fourth time in 2003. Photo: Reuters

Andre Agassi lifts the Australian Open trophy for a fourth time in 2003. Photo: Reuters

Former world #1 tennis star Andre Agassi heard some of the players complaining about the scorching heat at the Australian Open and tweeted the following: “Heat is not a curve it is an opportunity to separate yourself.”

The 43-year-old Agassi won four of his eight Grand Slam singles titles in Australia, and the way he separated himself from his opponents was in his workouts in the weeks leading up to Melbourne.

After seeing his world ranking drop to #141 in 1997, Agassi made a big comeback, due in part to a rigorous conditioning program.

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Sonny interviews Andre in 2011 in Washington.

While some players were putting their rackets down and enjoying the holidays during December, Agassi was running up “Magic Mountain,” a 293-meter hill on the outskirts of his Las Vegas birthplace, where he still lives today.

During some workouts, Agassi would run up the hill more than a dozen times to strengthen his legs, his heart and his mind. His longtime trainer, Gil Reyes, says the hard workouts helped make Agassi a more confident player.

“Magic Mountain” became one of Agassi’s measuring sticks, a place to gauge his fitness and conditioning.

I’m almost 10 years older than Agassi, and I’ll never go five sets in Melbourne, but I like to test myself on my own “Magic Mountain.”

West Cedar Lane, when run from Rockville Pike to Old Georgetown Rd. in Bethesda, Maryland, is an incline almost four times longer than Agassi’s hill, although probably not as steep.

Sonny likes to pump his fist like Andre every time he scales his Magic Mountain. Photo: Bill Workinger/VOA

Sonny likes to pump his fist like Andre every time he scales his Magic Mountain. Photo: Bill Workinger/VOA

Still, it’s a good challenge. I used to avoid it during my runs, but now it’s a measuring stick, because I know it’s making my legs, heart and mind stronger.

I time myself from the bottom to the top, and it’s easy to do, there are thin orange poles along the side of the road – measuring sticks.

Find yours and see how you size up. Those measuring sticks are helping keep me in the game for the long run.

Sonny Young
Since 1999, host Sonny Young has delighted listeners and viewers with a lively presentation that combines humor, props, sound effects and correspondent reports from Africa and all over the globe.

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Sonny Side of Sports is an energetic and action-packed look at both world and African sports, broadcast on radio, TV and the Internet. Since the show’s creation in 1999, host Sonny Young has delighted listeners and viewers with a lively presentation that combines humor, props, sound effects and correspondent reports from Africa and all over the globe.

The Sonny Side of Sports is broadcast Monday through Friday at 1630 and 1830 UTC/GMT. And on Fridays at 1730 UTC/GMT, Sonny has an expanded 30-minute sports show.

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