At the 2004 Summer Olympics, Carly Patterson became the first American woman in 20 years to win the All-Around Olympic Gold medal since Mary Lou Retton in 1984. The 2004 Olympic Champion, Carly Patterson, was born February 4, 1988 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, the first of two children to Ricky and Natalie Patterson.
Carly began gymnastics in 1994, after attending a cousin’s birthday party at Elite Gymnastics in Baton Rouge. Less than a decade later, she made her debut at the senior international elite level, winning back- to-back American Cup titles in 2003 and 2004, as well as the title of 2004 US Co-National Champion. Carly was also a part of the 2003 World Championships team where she won a silver medal in the all-around and helped lead the US to their first ever World Championship team gold medal! It was also at this competition that Carly’s signature beam dismount (an Arabian double front) was officially named the Patterson. A year later, Carly achieved her ultimate goal in gymnastics by earning a trip to the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece.
Carly came home from Athens with three Olympic medals. The US women won silver in the team competition – the first medal for the US women in eight years, as well as the second highest finish for Americans in a fully attended Olympic Games. Carly also earned a silver medal on her specialty, the beam. However, it was on August 19th that all of Carly’s hard work, dedication, and love for gymnastics paid off. She won the most prestigious title in gymnastics, the title of 2004 Olympic All-Around Champion. Carly is the USA’s first Olympic all-around champion in twenty years, as well as the first American woman to win an Olympic all-around title in a fully attended Olympic Games!
Since the Olympics, Carly appeared on the “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” “The Late Show with David Letterman” and “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.” She also was featured on an NBC special and adorned the front of a Wheaties box. Carly presented an award at the 2004 MTV Video Music Awards; was recognized by Glamour Magazine at the 2004 “Women Of The Year” Award; and was honored as the March of Dimes’ “Sportswoman of the Year.”
In 2005, Carly was selected as one of Teen People’s “20 Teens Who Will Change the World;” walked the runway at New York Fashion Week to promote “The Heart Truth Red Dress Collection” to prevent heart disease; was nominated for the Sullivan Award honoring the best amateur athlete; and was nominated for an ESPY Award in the “Best Olympic Performance” category. Carly published a children’s book called “Be Strong” and made an appearance in the movie “Stick It.”
Carly began pursuing a music career after the 2004 Olympics and was signed by Music Mind Records in 2007. Carly released her first single, “Temporary Life” in March 2008 and her second single, “Time to Wake Up”, in Feb. 2009. Carly’s CD, “Back To The Beginning”, was released August 2009. Her song, “Here I Am”, was used for advertisement for the 2010 season of the TV show “Make It or Break It.” In addition, Carly made an appearance in the 2010 season of “Make It or Break It.”
Carly has continued to work with USA Gymnastics doing promotion and events with them, gymnastics camps and competitions helping inspire young gymnasts and also working with the United States Olympic Committee.
Carly has been involved in many charitable causes such as Special Olympics, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation and Children’s Miracle Network as well as numerous other local Dallas-based charitable causes. Carly works closely with a local Dallas charity, Taylor’s Gift foundation and they help bring awareness about organ donation.
Career Highlights Include:
2004 Olympic Gold Medalist: All-Around
2004 Olympic Silver Medalist: Team
2004 Olympic Silver Medalist: Beam
2004 U.S. National Co-Champion
2004 Visa American Cup Champion
2003 World Championships: Gold Medal Team
2003 World Championships: Silver Medal All-Around
2003 Visa American Cup Champion
2002 U.S. Junior National Champion
Carly was incredible! I know the audience was eager to see her speak and she did not disappoint. She was so lovely to work with and just radiates positive energy. I was blown away by her presentation and I heard from numerous attendees that she was their favorite speaker of the day (out of over 30 speakers!).”
~Madeline K., Ellevate Network
Once she took the stage she was able to quickly capture the attention of everyone in the room. Her speech was inspiring and her video footage was able to visibly demonstrate her pursuit of Excellence during the Olympics. I would recommend Carly for any appearance as her story is relevant to everyone.
~Destini McKnight, NBC Universal
Carly has quickly become a student favorite keynote for our Character U program at DeSales University. It’s not every day that a student can meet a gold medal Olympian and wear her medals! She has a powerful message that the students value and appreciate.
~Chad Serfass, Director for the DeSales Experience in Character & Leadership
She was truly phenomenal! So relatable, caring and warm! She spoke a powerful message that left a lasting impact on students for years to come. This is a word that will not be soon forgotten. If you have the opportunity to have Carly speak…do not let it pass you by. Her message captivates the hearts of her audience and her passion moves those in the room.
~Pastor Jeremy Baker, Elevate Life Church