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Sports - Keynote Speakers

Vince Papale

Philadelphia through and through, Vince Papale is a true local hero. His story - that you should never give up and always continue to pursue your dreams - embodies the spirit of Philadelphia and serves to empower anyone who has ever been told they can’t achieve their goals. In 1976, at the age of 30, Vince tried out for the Philadelphia Eagles, made the team, and became the oldest rookie in the history of the NFL. He still holds that record! He was with the Eagles for four seasons as a wide receiver before a shoulder injury ended his career in 1979. While active, he was voted special teams captain by his teammates and in 2007 he was voted the most outstanding special teams player in the 75-year history of the Eagles. In 2006, Disney released a movie about Vince called "Invincible" that opened to rave reviews finishing #1 at the box office two weeks in a row! Vince's inspirational journey from humble working class beginnings and troubled home life, to successful professional athlete and businessman is a story that audiences of all demographics will relate to. His topics include “Hold Fast to Dreams”, which explores Vince Papale's Cinderella rise from 30-year old Philadelphia Eagles season ticket holder to Philadelphia Eagles football player, the stuff that dreams are made of. Vince's story will certainly inspire anyone who is privileged enough too hear one of his motivational speeches.

Rudy Ruettiger

Against all odds on a gridiron in South Bend, Indiana, Daniel "Rudy" Ruettiger, in twenty-seven seconds, carved his name into the history books as perhaps the most famous graduate of the University of Notre Dame. In 1993, Tristar pictures immortalized his life with the blockbuster film "Rudy." Today, as a highly sought after motivational speaker, Rudy entertains international corporate audiences with a unique, passionate, and heartfelt style of communicating. Rudy will re-ignite the fire for 'The Dream" in your group, inspire your people to develop goals and work together as a team. Rudy's personal experiences of adversity and triumph together with his captivating personality and powerful message of "Yes I Can" will stay with your audience forever.

Chris Waddell

Chris Waddell is a phenomenal motivational speaker who is the epitome of his message: It’s not what happens to you, it’s what you do with what happens to you. Waddell was a promising young skier at Middlebury College when a skiing accident left him paralyzed from the waist down. Addressing his disability with determination to get back on the slope brought him skiing one year later on a monoski. In two years Waddell was named to the US Disabled Ski Team and went on to become the most decorated male skier in Paralympic history. After 11 years on the ski team, his ambitions lead him to become the first paraplegic to summit Mt. Kilimanjaro with little assistance. After hearing Waddell’s thought provoking story people will refer to his message for years to come to trigger their own drive for success and inspire new ambitions. Chris’ One Revolution Foundation helps to create social change through its mission of changing the way that the world sees people with disabilities by demonstrating the common experience of challenge.

Pat Williams

Pat Williams is Senior Executive Vice President of the Orlando Magic and one of the most well known NBA GM's. His zany antics & endless imagination have inspired the Magic's phenomenal success. Twenty-three of his teams have gone to the NBA play-offs and five of them have made the NBA finals. In 1996, Pat was named as one of the 50 most influential people in NBA history by a national publication. While he enjoys a widespread reputation in the world of sports, he is considered one of this country's premier motivational and humorous speakers. He has authored seventeen motivational books including "The Magic of Teamwork" and his most renowned "Ahead of the Game: The Pat Williams Story", which chronicles his unbelievable life and provides unparalleled insight in the fast-paced world of professional basketball. His speeches encompass themes from each book. Pat's latest topic, Sam Walton's Ten Rules of Success, is based on the extraordinarily successful business philosophy of Sam Walton's Wal-Mart family.

Don Yaeger

As a sports writer and author, Don Yaeger has had a front-row seat with some of the world’s greatest winners. Let him share that seat with you! Don has the ability to connect sports with business and share great stories on teamwork, preparedness, goal setting and relationship building. His insights provide a unique perspective on audience’s everyday tasks and responsibilities. Don is a frequent guest on national television programs such as: Nightline, Dateline, 20/20, ESPN and Good Morning America. In the past 22 years, he has penned 23 books, including seven New York Times Best-sellers, the most recent being Nothing to Lose, Everything to Gain: How I Went from Gang Member to Multimillionaire Entrepreneur with Ryan Blair. He communicates with his audiences in an easy, engaging style, which helps participants realize that they, too, can achieve a higher level of professional and personal success.

Brandon Steiner

Brandon Steiner’s career has seen many twists and turns, and many self-reinventions, but has always centered on his two sharpest skills: managing people and providing services. His career with the Yankees began when he was manager of the Hard Rock Café in the 80s. He started meeting many of the team’s athletes and later represented them professionally and began Steiner Association (later named Steiner Sports). Brandon is frequently utilized as an expert commentator on sports and marketing on CNBC, CNN, MSNBC, and ESPN, and in newspapers including The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. Brandon speaks on a wide variety of skills and entrepreneurial values that have made him successful. Whether it is regarding change and all the opportunities it brings, or how to handle risk, Brandon brings “outside of the box thinking” to life!

Peter Vidmar

Peter Vidmar does not just stand behind a podium to present his hilariously entertaining motivational speeches, he does so while performing parts of his Olympic gold medal winning pommel horse routine. Peter’s career blossomed after the 1984 Olympic Games when he lead USA men’s gymnastics team to gold as he won silver for the individual all-around and gold for the pommel horse. He now is the Co-Chairman of the US Olympic Committee Summer Sports Summit, an annual series of workshops to prepare America’s medal hopefuls win gold in future Olympics. His ability to motivate people in and outside the gym has taught thousands how to have a perfect performance by using his three components- Risk, Originality and Virtuosity. Just like when Peter was captain for the USA men’s gymnastics team he will lead your business to gold through his inspiring keynotes.

Victoria Arlen

Victoria Arlen’s powerful story of overcoming a rare neurological disorder that left her paralyzed from the waist down ignites audience’s passion for achieving goals. In 2010, after almost four years being in a vegetative state, Victoria began the nearly impossible fight back to life. Although she faced the devastating reality of paralysis from the waist down, she went on to defy the odds and not only recovered but has since become an accomplished speaker, actress, model, and swimmer. In April 2015, Victoria made the transition from professional athlete to sportscaster and joined ESPN as one of the youngest on-air talents hired by the company, reporting for espnW, X Games, and Sportscenter. Victoria also recently defied the odds after being told she would never walk again. She took her first steps in March 2016 and has not stopped since. Victoria has become world famous not only for her story and accomplishments but for her message: “Face It, Embrace It, Defy It, Conquer It". She inspires audiences to have a new perspective on life and to see the world full of possibilities rather than limitations.

Lakey Peterson

Lakey Peterson is a powerful symbol for pushing limits, reaching dreams and inspiring others to do the same. Lakey is inspiring audiences worldwide with her unique and uplifting message. In 2000, when Lakey was just 5 years old, her parents, David and Sue, rounded up their youngest child and her two older siblings - Whitney, then 13, and Parker, 10 and set out on a year-long, around-the world adventure. It was on that trip, while in Australia, that Lakey first fell in love with the sport of surfing. Learning how to stand up on her boogie board, Lakey was dubbed "Lakey Surf Legend" by the Aussies. Then in 2009 when she was 14, Lakey won the NSSA Open Women’s National Title, by completing the first ever aerial maneuver in NSSA history. In 2010 Lakey defended her National Title, winning for the second year in a row. She is now ranked No. 7 in the world.

Janine Shepherd

Janine Shepherd, an elite ski racer whose bid to represent Australia in the Olympics was cut short by a tragic accident. For ten days she hovered between life and death. After six months in hospital battling to rehabilitate her permanent disabilities, she not only taught herself to walk again—she earned her wings as both a pilot and an aerobatics instructor. Janine Shepherd is an internationally renowned speaker whose inspiring TED talk, “A Broken Body Isn’t a Broken Person.” has garnered over 1.5 million views. She’s been featured on “60 Minutes”, “This is Your Life”, and recognized with her country’s highest honor, The Order of Australia. Through powerful and emotive storytelling, Janine provides the tools that enable us all to take bold action, and transform whatever challenges we currently face into outstanding growth and change.

Molly Fletcher

Nicknamed “the female Jerry Maguire” by CNN, Molly Fletcher has recruited and represented hundreds of top athletes, coaches and media personalities. As a CEO, she shares her unconventional and unique techniques that made her one of the first female sports agents in the high stakes, big ego world of professional sports and now a successful entrepreneur. Molly is also the author of three books, the most recent being, A Winner’s Guide to Negotiating: How Conversation Gets Deals Done. Molly has spoken at hundreds of events for Fortune 500 companies, start-ups and associations across the country on topics related to leadership, team building, sales, business and personal development. It is impossible to leave Molly’s keynotes without feeling fueled with energy and ready to take on any obstacle that is in the way of your success!

Bethany Hamilton

Bethany Hamilton has become a source of inspiration to millions through her story of faith, determination, health, and hope. Born into a family of surfers on February 8, 1990, on the island of Kauai, Hawaii, Bethany began surfing at a young age. At the age of thirteen, on October 31, 2003, Bethany was attacked by a 14-foot tiger shark while surfing off Kauais North Shore. The attack left Bethany with a severed left arm. After losing over 60% of her blood, and making it through several surgeries without infection, Bethany was on her way to recovery with an unbelievably positive attitude. Miraculously, just one month after the attack, Bethany returned to the water to continue pursuing her goal to become a professional surfer. In October 2004, Bethany shared her life story in her autobiography entitled Soul Surfer. Seven years later, the book was made into a major motion picture bearing the same title. Other books Bethany has written include Devotions for the Soul Surfer, Rise Above, A Soul Surfer Bible, Ask Bethany, and Clash, Burned, Storm, and Crunch. In 2007, Bethany realized her dream and turned pro. Since losing her arm, Bethany's story has been told in hundreds of media outlets and she has been recognized with numerous awards, public appearances, and various speaking engagements.

Karl Mecklenburg

Karl Mecklenburg rose from a college walk-on and twelfth round draft choice to an NFL career that included three Super Bowl and six Pro Bowl appearances. The former Bronco’s captain spent his entire twelve year career in Denver and makes Colorado his home now. Mecklenburg was arguably the most versatile player in the NFL playing all seven defensive front positions often in the course of a single game. Karl was selected as the AFC Linebacker of the Year, AFC player of the Year, and since retiring from the NFL has been enshrined in the Denver Broncos Ring of Fame and the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame. A favorite keynoter for associations, corporations, and fundraisers, Mecklenburg’s stories of teamwork and leadership are humourous and inspiring. Each presentation is tailored to your organizational needs. He approaches his speaking career with the same intelligence, passion, and intensity that punctuated his great football career.

Ruben Gonzalez

From the insights of Four-time Olympian and peak-performance expert Ruben Gonzalez, comes a motivational keynote about taking control of your business and your life. Ruben is an internationally recognized award-winning keynote speaker.
He will inspire your people to reach their full potential, to make bold decisions and to take action - creating long lasting success for your organization. Ruben will move your people showing them what is possible if they will make a decision to commit fully to their goals. Ruben’s story of overcoming incredible challenges on the road to competing in four Olympic Games over the span of four decades goes right into the core of his audiences psyche, filling them with the inspiration and self-belief they need to achieve their goals. Unforgettable, fast paced, fun, and packed with information that will help your people achieve extraordinary results. People walk out of Ruben’s keynote presentation knowing they have what it takes to achieve sustained success. His keynote is an Olympic Experience your audience will NEVER forget!

Peter Novak

Equal parts coach, psychologist and seasoned financial services leader, Pete Novak, aka the pQ Coach, shows general agents and sales managers how to build cultures of success in their organizations through delegation, empowerment and focus on unique ability. Pete realized that the people with the most potential in his organization started out with four things in common: drive, unique ability, integrity and cultural fit. In tandem, they became the most reliable predictor of success he had at his disposal. He named this formula the pQ™ (short for Potential Quotient). Pete's instinct for identifying and cultivating potential has made him a one of the most successful recruiters among all his clients, and a sought-after coach and speaker. His unique professional background lends both credibility and creativity to his approach, resulting in a powerful, motivating experience for his agents, managers and coaching clients alike.

Jeff Hammond

Since joining FOX Sports in 2001, Jeff Hammond has been quite busy!! In only their first year, NASCAR on FOX received six (6) Emmy nominations and amazingly took home three (3) of the coveted awards. Jeff works on practice and qualifying shows for FOX and Speed Channel. Jeff has also been a color commentator on shows such as The NEXTEL Pit Crew Championship and The Pit Crew Challenge Powered by Tyson, also found on the Speed Channel. If that weren’t enough, Jeff alternates on a Sunday evening NASCAR wrap up show that is also seen on Speed Channel. Jeff has worked on major motion pictures like “Days of Thunder” and “Bandit Goes Country” a made for TV movie. Becoming one of the best jack men in the business, Hammond served on all three of driver Cale Yarborough’s Winston Cup hampionship seasons. Legendary driver Darrell Waltrip took over for Yarborough in 1981 and the Junior Johnson owned team won the championship that year. At the encouragement of Waltrip, Johnson promoted Jeff to the crew chief position for the start of the 1982 season. As the old saying goes “The Rest Is History”. Two more championships and 43 wins with Waltrip followed placing Hammond in the record books as one of NASCAR’S all-time great crew chiefs.

Lyn St. James

When Lyn St. James completed her first Indy 500 at the age of 45, she was just the second woman in history to race in the event. She took 11th place, and became the first woman to be selected Indy 500 Rookie of the Year. Leading up to and following that high-profile event were years of struggles and successes, wins and losses - from gaining corporate sponsorships to breaking down gender prejudices. She was selected by "Sports Illustrated for Women" as one of the Top-100 Women Athletes of the Century. Lyn has exhibited a unique blend of creativity, charm and tenacity that is equal parts sophisticated marketer, savvy talk show host and pure bull dog. She is undoubtedly a testament to the power of determination and positive thinking.

Jay Hewitt

Jay Hewitt will get you to your Finish Line. An elite Ironman triathlete, Jay is the only person with Type 1 diabetes to race for the U.S. National Triathlon Team. He balanced years of grueling physical triathlon training, racing and world travel, managing his blood sugar and hourly insulin dosage, and maintaining a demanding full-time law practice. In 2004, he began public speaking while racing and practicing law. After numerous engagements and repeated requests, he followed his passion and launched a full-time professional speaking career in 2011. His balance of work, life and pursuit of goals has taken remarkable focus and discipline, converting physical and mental challenges into motivation for success. That is exactly the message he shares with rapt audiences all over the world. Jay’s principles translate perfectly into life as well as business, inspiring improvement in everyone—from leadership and management to everyday employees, from athletes and non-athletes to students and adults.

Jeremy Poincenot

Jeremy describes the dramatic experience of shifting from fully-sighted, happy-go-lucky college sophomore, to legally blind, World Blind Golf Champion in his engaging program, "My Life's a Blur." While initially feeling depressed about his vision loss, Jeremy soon realized that he needed to focus on what remained possible, rather than dwell on what he had lost. Through his honest and moving account of learning to not only accept but embrace his blindness, Jeremy delivers memorable insights the audience can easily implement to become more resilient in the face of adversity. Hearing Jeremy speak will make everyone in your audience respond to life’s obstacles in a different way.

Scott Hamilton

Scott Hamilton brings motivating people to a new level as a keynote speaker. A former professional ice skater, a humanitarian, cancer survivor, author, and sports commentator for NBC Sports; Scott has fought the odds on and off the ice. Through his storytelling of the ups and downs he has faced throughout his career, Scott has inspired millions of people to never give up when there is a challenge ahead of them. Scott has released his new book The Great Eight: How To Be Happy Even When You Have Every Reason To Feel Miserable. It is through Scott’s passion and desire for helping people that allows him to connect with his audiences and have them leaving with a sense of eagerness to begin fighting for their dream.


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