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.
Carly discovered gymnastics in 1994 after attending a cousin’s birthday party. 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! 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 - 2004 Olympic All-Around Champion.
Since the Olympics, Carly has appeared on the The Tonight Show, The Late Show and The Ellen DeGeneres Show. She was also featured on an NBC special and adorned the front of a Wheaties box. Carly was recognized by Glamour Magazine at the 2004 "Women Of The Year” Awards and was honored as the March of Dimes’ “Sportswoman of the Year.”
Carly is passionate about music and was signed by Music Mind Records in 2007. She released two singles as well as an album. She is also the author of her own inspirational autobiography, Be Strong.
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. She continues to support the gymnastics community around the world.
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.
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.
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.