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Laura Wilkinson

Category: Olympians, Women in Sports
Fee Range: Under $10,000

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Biography:

Although her journey was not easy, Sports Speaker Laura Wilkinson became one of the greatest female divers in US history. At age 15, after being told by one of her teachers that she was too old to start a new sport, Laura embraced the sport of diving anyway. Nine months later, she was kicked off of her high school diving team after being called “a waste of space.” Nonetheless, the next year, Laura won her first US National Title and made the US National Team.

In 1998, Laura became the only American diver to ever win a Gold Medal at the Goodwill Games. A year later, after winning her second NCAA Division 1 title at the University of Texas, Laura left school to return home to chase her Olympic dream.

Shortly before the 2000 Olympic Trials, Laura shattered her right foot while training. At a time when many would throw in the towel, Laura and her coach, Kenny Armstrong, designed unique training methods to utilize the mental aspects of diving to keep Laura’s “head in the game,” and were able to physically train three weeks before the Olympic Trials. Not only did Laura end up making the Olympic Team, three months later, while wearing a protective shoe to walk up the ladder, Laura Wilkinson made history in Sydney, Australia.

Beating what many said were impossible odds in one of the biggest upsets in Olympic history, Laura, starting in eighth place and with a broken foot, came from behind to win 2000 Olympic Platform Gold Medal.

Since then, Laura Wilkinson has also won the 2004 World Cup and the 2005 World Championships, becoming the only woman in history to win all three coveted world titles in platform diving. Furthermore, she has won 19 US National Titles, been voted by the American public the 2000 US Olympic Spirit Award winner and was nominated for an ESPY award. Laura is available for sporting events, personal appearances and corporate events.