Mallory Weggemann has been a competitive swimmer since the age of seven. On January 21, 2008, she went to the hospital to receive her third and final epidural injection that she was receiving to help treat back pain caused by postherpetic neuralgia. The epidural injections that were supposed to help with the debilitating pain instead left Mallory a paraplegic with complete loss of movement from her abdomen down.
Just three months after her injury at the age of 18, Weggemann chose to return to the pool. In April 2008, her older sister found an article in the local newspaper discussing the Paralympic Swimming Trials at the University of Minnesota. Through the encouragement of her family, Mallory attended the meet as a spectator with her sister and met several of the US National Team coaches, as well as her former coach, Jim Andersen. Still coping with her new disability, Weggemann found one thing unchanged, her love for swimming.
Less than four years later, Mallory went on to set 15 World Records and 34 American Records, win an ESPN ESPY Award for “Best Female Athlete with a Disability,” on her way to winning gold in the 50m Freestyle and Bronze in the 4×100 relay at the London 2012 Paralympic Games.
Following the London 2012 Games Mallory launched her career as a highly sought-after motivational speaker and began her training for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. Although, in 2014 fate would leave Weggemann with another twist in her athletic journey after she sustained permanent nerve damage to her left arm. Faced with the reality of potentially having to retire Weggemann decided that she wasn’t willing to give up on her dream of the Rio 2016 Games without a fight.
Weggemann returned to the water, her sanctuary and looked to the black line as she fought her way back. With the support of her coach, Steve Van Dyne, Weggemann began her comeback. When Mallory talks about her comeback following injury she says, “It takes a community, it takes a belief that you can be better, that you can fight back, that you can defy all odds and that you do not have to be a victim of your circumstance. A comeback is about the desire to redefine all limitations, having the courage to do what many would call impossible, the passion for what you love to do and most of all having the grace to know when you simply cannot do it alone.”
In 2019, Mallory staged yet another comeback and took the Paralympic world by storm when she won two golds and a silver at the 2019 World Championships in London and now currently training for the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games as a two-time Paralympian and 15-time World Champion.
In addition to her successes and accolades in the pool, Mallory has served as an analyst for numerous Paralympic sports outlets, including as a commentator on NBC for the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Games – the first female reporter in a wheelchair ever to serve in that capacity for NBC.
Keynote Presentation by Mallory Weggemann
Similar to Mallory’s standard in person presentation
Opening intro video and intimate conversation where Mallory brings the attendees into her home to share in her journey following her paralysis at the age of 18, to winning Gold in London 2012, to another major setback and surgeries, to the postponement of the Tokyo Games; Mallory continues to pursue her dreams and goals despite challenges that many would deem impossible to continue pressing forward in the face of incredible adversity.
Technology to include live comments, questions and answers
Opportunity for business component to kick off event