Carly Patterson

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In 2004, Carly Patterson was the first woman to win an Olympic all-around gold medal 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 the 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 International Gymnastics Hall of Fame, the USA Gymnastics Hall of Fame, and the Texas Sports 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 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 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, finding 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: The Champion's Guide to Skillfully Managing Change"


What does it take to reach the pinnacle of success? Then, what does it take to get better? Not only will you learn practical insights from Olympic Gold medal gymnast Carly Patterson, you will be drawn into a story of resilience, winning in a competitive environment, and enjoying the journey. Carly applied the same drive and determination that took her to the highest podium to become a recording artist, entrepreneur, and mom. Her speech, From Best to Better, is a moving experience of excellence, reinvention, and peace of mind.   

Key takeaways: 


  • Resiliency in the face of uncertainty and adversity
  • Not letting your achievements define you
  • Conquering your fears and leveling up
  • Letting your setbacks be a setup for success



"Tenacity, Grace & Grit: A Story of Stubborn Determination, Resilience, & the Pursuit of Excellence"


In her keynote address, Carly shares how she redefined success through three principles she learned as a championship-level gymnast and in the years that followed. Carly’s authentic, humorous, and down-to-earth communication style is the perfect vehicle for a message that students, athletes, and professionals need to hear to embrace true success and find lasting fulfillment. 

Key takeaways:


  • Courage to take your “What’s next” step
  • How to stay focused and move towards your goals
  • Embracing the spark
  • Making decisions from a place of freedom and not fear



Top 5 Key Takeaways from Carly Patterson's Presentations

1. Embrace the Spark:


  • Recognize and pursue moments of passion and curiosity.
  • Be open to new paths and detours for personal and professional growth.


2. Continuous Improvement:


  • View achievements as stepping stones, not final destinations.
  • Embrace healthy competition and dedication for ongoing success.


3. Resilience Through Setbacks:


  • Save setbacks for later, using them as opportunities for growth.
  • Overcoming challenges builds resilience and contributes to personal development.


4. Being Present for Excellence:


  • To perform at your best, stop obsessing over perfection.
  • Find success by being present and letting go of the need to do everything perfectly.


5. Curiosity Quotient and Balance:


  • Embrace curiosity for ongoing innovation and patience.
  • Strive for balance in life, recognizing that it's a continuous and personal effort.



Custom Keynotes

Carly takes her time to get to know her audience, her clients, and events. She will take her time to customize her keynote so it's best suited for your attendees. Carly is happy to bring her Olympic medals and do a meet & greet/autographs/pictures with attendees. Carly can also customize her message and share insights on how God played and continues to play a role in her life, helping you and your attendees reaffirm their faith and get closer to God.  

Carly Patterson's Experiences

Virtual In-Person
Virtual In-Person

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“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

Simply put – WOW! She really is amazing and left us with such great messages. My take-a-ways: • Save the set back for later: find a way to come together as a team and still make it happen. Help each other. • We have a choice who we want to become. Find your flow and get into the zone! • Be curious, patient and innovate. • It's not about control, but consistently getting better. • Remember to be grateful. Her messages do resonate with us as members of the South Central Team, HP employees and also in our personal lives. I left the talk very inspired and woke up this morning feeling the same way.

Laurie L., HP

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

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

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

I’ve never heard a better or more inspiring keynote in the 20 years I’ve been here!

Coca-Cola employee

If you’re looking for someone to speak at your next event, look no further. Carly Patterson is absolutely incredible. She was down to earth, easy to work with and did a phenomenal job teaching. We couldn’t have been happier with her presentation and we got constant compliments after our event. Book Carly and you won’t be disappointed!

Ryan K Maule, President of Integrity Doctors

We couldn’t have asked for a better closing keynote speaker than Carly – she came to dinner with our group the night before and got to know them and their stories, which I think made for an even better impact the following morning! Carly closed out our conference with a lot of heart, laughs and a few surprising tears, which I believe is what truly makes a great keynote – those sneak up on you tears. She left everyone with a sense of inspiration, but also realism. Carly was motivational but in a conversational way that just made you feel comfortable and not “less than” when comparing yourself to an amazing Olympic athlete. Our conference is all about connection and sharing your personal story and Carly really put the cherry on top of our event with her own. She made the room feel like they could have a one-on-one conversation with her, which was perfect for our (almost) all female audience. I heard nothing but great feedback and I’d book her again just to hang out! Thank you, Carly.

Jill Newman - IFAI Education & Events Manager