Bethany Hamilton

Category: Action Sports, Other sports, Women in Sports
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Professional surfer Bethany Hamilton did not let a shark attack, an unfortunate accident that resulted in the loss of her left arm, hinder her from returning to the sport she loves. Sports Speaker Bethany was back in the water just a month after the fourteen foot tiger shark bit her, becoming a huge inspiration to others. Since the tragic incident, Bethany has remained optimistic and proven that you can make the best of any situation; she would go on to win her first national title a year later, placing first place in the Explorer’s Division of the National Scholastic Surfing Association (NSSA) National Championships in 2005. Her autobiography Soul Surfer was a #1 New York Times bestseller, and her story was adapted into a film of the same name starring AnnaSophia Robb and Dennis Quaid. Bethany went pro in 2007, just four years after her attack. As of 2013, Bethany is ranked number forty-four Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) Women’s World Ranking.

Bethany has refused to let the loss of a limb stop her from living an active and busy life. She enjoys eating healthfully and stays physically active when she is not catching waves by hiking, working out, playing soccer, and so on. A devout Christian, Bethany remains steadfast in her faith, and has included time in her schedule to make appearances at churches around the world. She now has her own non-profit foundation, Friends of Bethany, which supports amputees and victims of shark attacks. She is sponsored by Rip Curl and Tampax Pearl Active, as well as several other companies.

Bethany has received numerous awards, from the ESPY for Comeback Athlete of the Year in 2004 and USA Today’s Free Spirit Award in 2005, to the Woman of the Year in Saudi Arabia and Germany in 2006 and 2004, respectively. She has been featured in publications such as Life, Glamour, the New York Times, O Magazine, People, Teen Vogue, and Seventeen.