Health Fitness Revolution and its founder, Samir Becic, have created a list of the Top 10 Fittest Mayors 2018. Since 2013, HFR has been creating lists of the fittest politicians in various branches of government in order to motivate Americans to embrace a healthier lifestyle.
It is our privilege to report that Reno Mayor Hillary Schieve made this year’s list! Her story is so motivational and inspiring, which is why we chose to publish her interview first. If you want to know how an Olympic hopeful overcame renal failure and got into politics, keep reading Mayor Schieve’s mesmerizing interview with us.
Congratulations Mayor Hillary Schieve for being named one of the Top 10 Fittest Mayors in America 2018! This automatically qualifies Mayor Schieve to be considered for our upcoming Top 25 Fittest Politicians in America 2018. We hope you find her interview as inspiring as we did.
Samir: Mayor Schieve, your resume is impressive! You were slated to go to the Olympics, but couldn’t because of your health. Would you like to share what happened? I think it’s a great story to hear.
Mayor Schieve: Yeah, ever since I was a little girl, I was fascinated by figure skating, but we never had an ice rink in Reno. My family took a trip during Christmas, and they had a rink in Sun Valley, Idaho, and I got on the ice and was kind of a natural at it. A year later, I was 10 years old, and Reno put in an ice rink, so I obviously started skating in Reno, and there was a coach who used to teach Peggy Fleming and Dorothy Hamill. He came through Reno for a day and said to my mother, “Hey, I would love to train your daughter, but I live in Colorado Springs, would she be willing to come there?” So, I went there and trained with him for a long time, and I was doing really well competing nationally and ranking all across the country, but then I started to become really tired, and no one knew what was wrong with me for a long time. It was crazy because my father was a doctor, so, you know typically, the last to get seen, right? (laughs) Anyway, long story short, I went into kidney failure from an untreated strep throat infection. My sister Amanda, who was a news anchor here, donated her kidney to me to save my life, and I think after that, your priorities change. My whole life was training to go to the Olympics and to be a world-class athlete, and overnight that changed, and my priorities changed. You know a lot of people complain about being in traffic, but I’m just happy to be in traffic.
Samir: (light chuckle) That makes sense.
Mayor Schieve: (light chuckle) Yeah, so that’s actually where I kind of got my start in government. I became a lobbyist for organ donation because 18 people die every day waiting for an organ transplant in this country. I started to lobby and went to Washington and got interested in the political side of things, and by the time I had gone through my illness, I became a little too old to compete. So, I went to what they call adult nationals, and I won a gold medal and a silver medal. It was sort of bittersweet; it was kind of a comeback for me. It showed that people with organ transplants can live a normal life and be healthy athletes. That’s really why I did it, to send a message and to hopefully inspire others who are waiting for transplants, to show them that your life goes on! In Reno, we haven’t had an ice rink here for probably about 7 or 8 years. We’re trying to raise money to build one. We’ve raised a few million to do it, but you know, we are just working on it. So, hopefully, one day I can get back on the ice in my hometown.
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Samir: You are not only a motivation for people waiting for an organ transplant, but you’re motivation for the whole nation. Your story gave me chills. It is so motivating!
Mayor Schieve: Well thank you.
Samir: You make me feel alive right now, and I’m an extreme athlete. I’m the guy who runs a marathon with 73.5 pounds of weighted vest equivalent on him.
Mayor Schieve: Oh my goodness, that’s amazing, I love it!
Samir: But I was just more motivated by your story than me running marathons with weights because it’s amazing, BRAVO, mayor, BRAVO!
Mayor Schieve: You’re very sweet.
Samir: I hope next time we can put you on the list of the Top 10 Fittest Senators and Top 10 Fittest Governors. Because people like you deserve to lead this country!
Mayor Schieve: (laughs) You’re very very sweet, but you know us athletes. I think we have a mentality to persevere. Right?
Samir: Exactly, we never give up!
Mayor Schieve: Yeah, we don’t. We like the challenge. We’re competitive. That’s why I don’t like to lose. That’s why I want my city to thrive and be the best, and I’m very competitive because of sports and all of that, so I think it does help me in government. Right? We don’t give up.
Samir: Right. We don’t give up! Mayor, a couple more questions. John F. Kennedy said, “Physical fitness is not only one of the most important keys to a healthy body. It is the basis of dynamic and creative intellectual activity.” What is your stance on this?
Mayor Schieve: I absolutely think so. A healthy city is a city that provides longevity and a great quality of life. So, health is very important, being active is very important. That’s why I believe in parks, that’s why I believe in recreation. I represent mayors on the T.A.P.E.S. community, which is tourism, art, parks, entertainment, and sports. Because I believe those are the kind of activities that create a healthy and sustainable city. Remember it’s not just your body, it’s your mental health.
Samir: Of course and exercise is the cheapest medicine for mental illness. Why are we not using more of that?
Mayor Schieve: Yeah for sure, and you know what is happening I think now more than ever? Technology has taken over, and it’s made children so reliant on it. I’m sure you remember as children, we would play outside.
Samir: All the time!
Mayor Schieve: Yeah! Running, and jump rope, and I also played soccer, and those are the things that keep children healthy – not being on your phone all the time and connected to technology. I think it’s really hurting our country. Not to mention the fast food component and the cheap eating and things like that. My dad was a really big believer in a plant-based diet, and so I think as a whole, unfortunately, in America, we have not done a good job in educating children on that subject.
Samir: Mayor how can we improve that?
Mayor Schieve: I think honestly, we have to start it early and often. You’ve got to educate early and often, and that goes with parents. I mean some parents can’t read still, and you know early literacy is still as important for education and health and wellbeing.
Samir: Mayor I like your stance on that. There is more than just one component to keeping people healthy and fit. President George W. Bush stated, “Exercise is so important that Corporate America should help its employees make time. There should be flexible time for families, and they should be flexible time for exercise. A healthy workforce is a more productive workforce, and we have to do a better job of encouraging exercise in America.” What is your stance on that?
Mayor Schieve: I agree, that’s why at City Hall we have yoga classes, we have our own gym with state-of-the-art equipment that we were able to obtain from a business that went out, and we bought their equipment to put in this empty space at City Hall. So we can keep people healthy. A lot of times, before work, after work, or during lunch, a lot of our department encourages people to go down. Even if it’s 10 or 15 minutes, it makes your head much clearer. Cumulatively, we know from studies that it can be beneficial.
Samir: I agree. Mayor Schieve, you made my day. You motivate me. You motivate the guy who is supposed to be one of the fittest guys. You rock!
Mayor Schieve: You’ve got to come to work with me, I love this positive affirmation.
Samir: Is there anything else you would like to share with us before we finish this interview?
Mayor Schieve: No, I’m just glad you’re doing this. I think it’s important to continue to educate people to get out there and be healthy, even if it’s small bits of exercise. Also, your mental health is important. We know that, and I’m a huge believer in that. I just want to thank you for what you guys are doing. Because we can’t do it alone, we all have to do it together.