In 2004, Carly Patterson became only the second American woman to win an Olympic all-around gold medal, and the first to do so in a non-boycotted Olympic Games. She was the first American woman to win the title in 20 years, also taking home silver medals for balance beam, and the Women’s team competition.
Carly’s performance at the Olympics made her a household name, leading to numerous appearances on television talk shows and award shows, and her induction to the USA Gymnastics Hall of Fame.
Soon after the Olympics, Patterson was diagnosed with several bulging discs in her lower back that had gone unnoticed. She announced her intention to take time off from the sport to rehabilitate her back, but hearing her doctor say ‘Carly, you really need to stop if you want to be able to walk when you get older’, she made the difficult decision to officially retire from the sport in 2006 – without ever participating in another major competition.
Later that year, Carly released her co-written her autobiography, Be Strong, revealing the strength and perseverance that helped her win Olympic gold.
On the heels of her legendary achievements at the 2004 Olympic games, and never one to shy away from a challenge, Carly aggressively pursued a career in vocal performance, songwriting and production – complete with high-level recording contracts, movie appearances, and regular rotation of her songs on radio and television.
In 2012, Carly married the love of her life, and over the years that followed, her resilience would be put to the test again as she and her husband navigated the dark trail of infertility, a path that one in every eight couples is forced to travel.
“This body that had achieved a gold medal at the Olympics, you know, one of the toughest things you can ever do, was at this point, failing me and that was difficult.”
Her achievements as a gymnast and the opportunities she pursued after retiring gave Carly a unique perspective on embracing true success, find lasting fulfillment, and addressing the question: what do you do when your greatest accomplishment is behind you?
In her authentic, humorous, and down-to-earth presentations, Carly shares the redefinition of success through principles she learned as a championship-level gymnast – and in the challenging years that followed.
Carly continues to be an inspiration by sharing her story of resiliency, fearlessness, dedication, and hard work.
From Best to Better
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
Our school organization hired Carly Patterson as a speaker, and she was a big hit! She engaged the audience with her real world applications to everyday life. While she is not an educator, her message rang true with our teachers and administration. Carly has a unique way of using humor and knowledge which made for an informative and entertaining session.
~Kathy Flay, Northway Christian Day School
Thanks again to you and the extended team at AMD. We are very grateful for our joint partnership and the positive impact AMD has on our customers and our business. We really appreciated the special gift of Carly Patterson Caldwell. Simply put – WOW! She really is amazing and left us with such great messages.
~Laurie L., HP