Last night was a night that gave me hope for America. 


2010 has been pretty depressing so far – unemployment is still sky high, change isn’t happening fast enough, no one in Washington seems to be able to get along, and it seems like the “anger” that a lot of people are feeling could ignite some real violence.  Europe is in financial turmoil and China owns all our debt…    


And yet, a 23-year-old kid, who just happens to own his own mountain, provided the lift we all needed. For those of you who didn’t watch the Olympics last night, a daring redhead showed us what America is all about – innovation, creativity and guts.  Shaun White not only won an Olympic gold, but he did a trick that he didn’t have to do in order to win!


Both Lindsay Vonn and Shani Davis showed strength and determination yesterday in their respective gold medal races, but Shaun White was my personal favorite.  He’s kind of crazy and optimistic, in a wild, young sport and he loves to push the envelope.  As I watched him approach his final run up the side of the halfpipe, he had already clinched the gold and he had very little height…surely he would NOT try his new trick?  And yet he did it anyway – the incredible “Double McTwist 1260” – which involves two off-axis backflips while doing 3.5 full rotations, all in one jump.  Then he iced the landing, finishing with a huge smile.


It’s the Millennial Twenty-Something kids like Shaun and their daring spirit that are going to lift America out of these challenging economic times.  The willingness to create and try new things is what makes this country different during each succeeding generation and gives me hope for the future. 


And next time some snowboarder cuts off me off while skiing, instead of cursing to myself, I am going to be thankful that we have kids who are willing to try new and challenging things.

(For more information on Millennials, AIM’s new study MILLENNIALS At HOME, will be published in April.  Contact for details.)