Former WNBA legend Ruthie Bolton's film, "Mighty Ruthie," premieres Sunday at 9 p.m. ET on SEC Network. It highlights the Olympic medalist's life as a college basketball player at Auburn in the 1980s, as she worked hard to prove her talent and eventually became a star athlete.
A few years later, Bolton led the United States women's basketball team to the gold medal at the 1996 Olympics in Los Angeles. Throughout her successful career, Bolton kept a secret from her family and teammates: Her then-husband was physically abusing her.
Two days after "Mighty Ruthie" was screened at her alma mater by her former teammates and their coaches, espnW interviewed Bolton. Her older sister, Mae Ola, also a star athlete at Auburn, was present for the conversation. Bolton spoke candidly about the film, but she was adamant about not wanting viewers to pity her.
"I hope that women can be empowered," she said. "It's not about feeling like a victim."
Bolton said she wants people to understand the importance of forgiveness, self-esteem and developing a firm set of values. Here are three things Bolton said she'd like viewers to take away from the film:
Forgiving is crucial. "If you don't forgive, you become a prisoner of your own emotions. Forgiveness is important. You have to start to look in the mirror and understand you aren't perfect and embrace your flaws and shortcomings."
Control your mindset. When she was younger, her father's favorite aphorism was on every door in the Bolton family home. "'Ten percent of life is what happens to you and the other 90 percent is how you respond to it.' At the time, I didn't always understand what that meant until I was in college and got into situations that felt unfair. I realized the only thing that you can control is your mindset. You can't control what people think about you. You can control what you can do. And when you don't do that, you give your power away. So how you maintain your power is how you approach things. You have to do what you have to do, and that is to focus."
Embrace adversity. Bolton was quick to give advice to people who encountered difficulties. "When you face an obstacle, you have to understand that it isn't going to kill you. It will make you better. You've got to face and salute your adversaries."