As the excitement builds for the upcoming Olympics in Paris this summer, we’re reminded of why these world-class athletes often go on to become successful speakers. The journey an Olympian must take to become one of the best in the world at what they do gives them a uniquely clear understanding of what it means to pursue excellence.

What benefits do star international athletes bring as motivational speakers?

Olympians share inspiring stories that keep audiences on the edge of their seats while providing universally valuable lessons on perseverance, overcoming obstacles, and teamwork. When it comes to sports speakers, AAE is proud to work with the best of the best. Let’s take a look at 10 of the top Olympic athletes-turned keynote speakers.

1. Michael Phelps — Swimming

Michael Phelps

Michael Phelps, the most decorated Olympian of all time, is a name synonymous with swimming excellence. With 23 gold medals to his name, Phelps’ journey is marked by unparalleled dedication and perseverance. His autobiography and his work with mental health awareness continue to inspire athletes worldwide.

2. Allyson Felix — Track and Field

Allyson Felix, the most decorated female track and field Olympian, has won hearts with her exceptional performance on the track. Beyond her athletic prowess, Felix is a fierce advocate for maternal health and women’s empowerment. Her journey from a young athlete to an Olympic legend is a testament to her dedication and resilience.

3. Lisa Leslie — Basketball

Allyson Felix

A WNBA champion, Olympic gold medalist, and an influential author, Lisa Leslie has broken barriers and set new standards in women’s basketball. Her book, “From the Court to the Boardroom,” is a must-read for those looking to understand the intersection of sports and leadership.

4. Shannon Miller — Gymnastics

Shannon Miller, the most decorated gymnast in American history, has made significant contributions to the sport. After retiring from gymnastics, she has become a strong advocate for health and wellness, using her platform to inspire others to prioritize their well-being.

5. Melissa Stockwell — Paratriathlon

Melissa Stockwell, a Paralympian, veteran, and motivational speaker, has shown remarkable strength and determination. After losing her leg in combat, Stockwell turned her focus to athletics, becoming a three-time Paratriathlon World Champion. Her story is a powerful reminder of resilience and the human spirit.

Melissa Stockwell

6. Briana Scurry — Soccer

Briana Scurry, a two-time Olympic gold medalist in soccer, has been a pioneer for women in sports. As a World Cup champion and concussion awareness advocate, Scurry’s contributions extend far beyond the soccer field. Her advocacy work has brought much-needed attention to the issue of concussions in sports.

7. Greg Louganis — Diving

Greg Louganis, an Olympic diving champion, has won multiple gold medals and is celebrated for his incredible diving skills. Beyond his achievements as an athlete, Louganis has been a vocal advocate for LGBTQ+ rights and HIV awareness, using his platform to drive positive change.

8. Dominique Dawes — Gymnastics

Oz Sanchez

Dominique Dawes, a three-time Olympian and gold medalist in gymnastics, continues to inspire with her commitment to health and wellness. As an advocate for young gymnasts and a motivational speaker, Dawes’ influence extends well beyond the gym.

9. Oz Sanchez — Handcycling 

Oz Sanchez, a Paralympic gold medalist and motivational speaker, has overcome significant challenges to achieve greatness. His journey from a competitive cyclist to a world-renowned para-athlete is a story of perseverance and triumph.

10. Sunny Choi — Badminton

Sunny Choi, a leading figure in the world of badminton, is competing in her first Olympic games in Paris. She has represented the United States at the Pan American Games and continues to inspire young athletes. Her dedication to the sport and her achievements are a source of motivation for many aspiring badminton players.

As you get into the spirit of the Paris games and look to take your events to the next level, these Olympians can get you across the finish line. When you’re ready to get started planning your next event, AAE Speakers is here to help.