Andy Bessette, the EVP and chief administrative officer of Travelers, has a deep passion for golf and an understanding of the dedication and hard work required to excel in sports. Having been a member of the 1980 U.S. Olympic track and field team as a hammer thrower, Bessette draws inspiration from his own journey to support young professional golfers. His experiences have fueled his commitment to giving opportunities to rising talents, just as he was given opportunities during his athletic career.
Bessette's Journey: A Path of Opportunities Bessette's athletic journey began when he was introduced to hammer throwing by a dentist whose sons excelled in the sport. Intrigued by the trophies he saw at their home, he decided to give it a try and quickly fell in love with track and field. Despite starting with modest throws, his talent and dedication propelled him to excel in high school, earning him scholarship offers from prestigious universities.
Seizing Opportunities and Overcoming Challenges Bessette chose the University of Connecticut and continued to improve as a hammer thrower. His hard work paid off when he became a four-time college All-American and received opportunities to train with elite athletes at the U.S. Olympic Committee's developmental camp. Following his college years, Bessette joined the USOC's Olympic Job Opportunities Program, which provided him with full-time employment and flexible schedules to support his athletic pursuits.
Training and Transformation Bessette's career skyrocketed when he traveled to Scotland to train with national coach Stewart Togher. Under Togher's innovative circuit training program, Bessette pushed his physical and mental boundaries, adopting training techniques ahead of their time. The program, combined with guidance from a yogi and sports psychologist, transformed Bessette into a more disciplined and fit athlete.
Missed Opportunities and Life Lessons Despite his remarkable achievements, Bessette's dream of competing in the 1980 Olympics was shattered due to the boycott. Although disappointed, he recognized that he couldn't control external factors and learned the importance of appreciating the journey and the people who supported him along the way. Bessette treasures the third-place finish he achieved in the Liberty Bell Classic, a track and field event held during the boycotted Olympics.
Supporting Young Golf Pros Inspired by his own experiences, Bessette is passionate about providing opportunities for young golfers. Every year at the Travelers Championship, Travelers allocates three or four exemptions to emerging talents, allowing them to showcase their skills among the best in the sport. Bessette understands the significance of these opportunities and the impact they can have on a young athlete's career.
Conclusion: Andy Bessette's Olympic experience as a hammer thrower has shaped his perspective on sports and the value of providing opportunities to young athletes. Through his role at Travelers, he is dedicated to supporting rising talents in the world of golf. Bessette's journey reminds us that while we may not always control our destinies, the people we encounter and the opportunities we seize can make a significant difference.