Mallory Weggemann is a swimmer, a Paralympic Gold and Bronze Medalist, World Record Holder, ESPN “ESPY” Winner, author and motivational speaker. She was also recently featured in the Hershey's Team USA family for their "Hello From Home" campaign. Her remarkable story has been featured on the NBC, CNN, ESPN and BBC networks, to name a few media outlets.
Mallory has been a competitive swimmer since the age of seven. On January 21, 2008, she went to the hospital to receive her third and final epidural injection that she was receiving to help treat back pain caused by postherpetic neuralgia. The epidural injections that were supposed to help with the debilitating pain instead left Mallory with paralysis, which resulted in complete loss of movement from her abdomen down.
Just three months after her injury at the age of 18, Weggemann chose to return to the pool. In April 2008, her older sister found an article in the local newspaper discussing the Paralympic Swimming Trials at the University of Minnesota. Through the encouragement of her family, Mallory attended the meet as a spectator with her sister and met several of the US National Team coaches, as well as her former coach, Jim Andersen.
Following the London 2012 Games, Mallory launched her career as a highly sought after motivational speaker and began her training for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. Although, in 2014 fate would leave Weggemann with another twist in her athletic journey after she sustained permanent nerve damage to her left arm. Faced with the reality of potentially having to retire, Weggemann decided that she was not willing to give up on her dream of the Rio 2016 Games without a fight. Mallory is now a two-time Paralympian and is in training for the 2021 Tokyo Paralympic Games.
In the interview with our Different & Able President and Founder, Alexandra Nicklas, Mallory discusses how she survived and is now thriving with her differences, making strides in her career inside and outside of the pool, increasing public awareness of paraplegia and other differences. Mallory also talks about her memoir, Limitless: The Power of Hope and Resilience to Overcome Circumstance. Mallory exemplifies grit, resilience and triumph. She states, “As hard as life can get in certain moments, there’s always a way to move forward. We just have to choose to move forward.”