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Mallory Weggemann is an American Paralympic swimmer who became a paraplegic following a routine epidural to treat her back pain in 2008. Less than four months later, she started training in the pool with the goal of winning the gold medal at the 2012 Paralympic Games. After winning the gold for the 50 m freestyle S8, she turned her focus to her ultimate dream of walking again.

To realize this dream, Mallory reached out for help through a crowd funding site. In November of 2013, her dream came true when took her first steps in nearly six years with the help of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. She now walks with the assistance of customized leg braces and forearm crutches, which allow her to have brief moments of mobility and freedom of movement without a wheelchair.

Mallory is currently training for the 2016 Paralympic Games which are being held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. In addition to her training, she is continuing to build her career as a motivational speaker, making public appearances around the world. She is featured in a documentary called The Current, which is produced by the non-profit organization Make A Hero. Make A Hero inspires individuals with disabilities enjoy adaptive sports with freedom and confidence.

Mallory is the daughter of long time ERM (Environmental Resources Management) Partner Chris Weggemann.

Full Profile

    2012 Paralympic Gold Medalist Mallory Weggemann had her life changed on January 21, 2008. A routine epidural to help treat back pain left the college freshman paralyzed from the waist down. However, having been a competitive swimmer since the age of seven, she found one thing unchanged – her love for swimming.

    On April 8, 2008, Mallory returned to the pool, and has been breaking national and world records ever since. However, just days before the 2012 Paralympics, a controversial decision to move Mallory up a class left her competing against swimmers with full use of their legs. Nonetheless, she defied the odds and won Gold in the 50m freestyle, which became one of the signature races during the Games.

    An unfortunate accident in 2008 left her paralyzed, but didn′t keep her down, as she has gone on to become one of the best Paralympic swimmers in the world. – Mallory currently holds 15 World Records & 33 American Records, she is the 2011 ESPN ESPY winner for Best Female Athlete with a Disability, and is the 2009, 2010 and 2011 USA Swimming Disabled Swimmer of the Year.


Mallory Weggemann Speaker Videos Back to top

On Stage Interview


Mallory Weggemann asks, "Do you ever just sit and think about life?" Referring to her struggles with becoming paraplegic following a routine medical procedure, Mallory reflects on an extremely important realization. "There is no clear-cut path in life. It is a constant winding road. But somewhere, in all the turns, we find our own way of straightening it out."

Speaking about her personal journey and how far she's come since the accident, Mallory says, "There are times we change our lives, and there are times life changes us. But it is true: everything happens for a reason."

Keynote Speech to Students



Speeches / Speaking Engagements Back to top


Mallory Weggemann's paralysis from a routine medical procedure taught her the importance of resiliency when things don't go as planned. As a public speaker, she shares anecdotes about her initial struggles to come to terms with the unexpected. Her personal journey allowed her to understand that "everything happens for a reason."

Personal Story: Everything happens for a Reason
Mallory includes moving anecdotes from personal journal as she discusses the day in which she became paralyzed, her initial struggles to cope, and how she soon realized she now had a platform to instill change by helping others and raising awareness for swimmers with disabilities. Mallory shares a touching story of how she changed the life of a young girl who is also paralyzed --- an opportunity which allowed her to fully understand why "everything happens for a reason.”

You’re the Best, you can make a Difference, and you can Change the World
The phrase spoken to Mallory and her sisters by her father every night before they went to bed, is something which Mallory lives by today. Mallory emphasizes that everyone goes through struggles, and everyone has some sort of “disability,” some of them just not as obvious as hers. Yet, everyone has the ability to overcome their “disabilities” and make a difference (big or small) in the world.



Mallory Weggemann Speaker Testimonials Back to top

    Client Sample

    • Environmental Resource Management
    • Brown-Forman
    • The Century Council
    • Proctor & Gamble
    • Deloitte
    • Schwans




* Please note that while this speaker’s specific speaking fee falls within the range posted above (for Continental U.S. based events), fees are subject to change. For current fee information or international event fees (which are generally 50-75% more than U.S based event fees), please contact us.

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    Client Sample

    • Environmental Resource Management
    • Brown-Forman
    • The Century Council
    • Proctor & Gamble
    • Deloitte
    • Schwans


Personal Story: Everything happens for a Reason
Mallory includes moving anecdotes from personal journal as she discusses the day in which she became paralyzed, her initial struggles to cope, and how she soon realized she now had a platform to instill change by helping others and raising awareness for swimmers with disabilities. Mallory shares a touching story of how she changed the life of a young girl who is also paralyzed --- an opportunity which allowed her to fully understand why "everything happens for a reason.”

You’re the Best, you can make a Difference, and you can Change the World
The phrase spoken to Mallory and her sisters by her father every night before they went to bed, is something which Mallory lives by today. Mallory emphasizes that everyone goes through struggles, and everyone has some sort of “disability,” some of them just not as obvious as hers. Yet, everyone has the ability to overcome their “disabilities” and make a difference (big or small) in the world.


On Stage Interview


Mallory Weggemann asks, "Do you ever just sit and think about life?" Referring to her struggles with becoming paraplegic following a routine medical procedure, Mallory reflects on an extremely important realization. "There is no clear-cut path in life. It is a constant winding road. But somewhere, in all the turns, we find our own way of straightening it out."

Speaking about her personal journey and how far she's come since the accident, Mallory says, "There are times we change our lives, and there are times life changes us. But it is true: everything happens for a reason."

Keynote Speech to Students