Alana Nichols – Three-Time Paralympic Gold Medalist On Being a Champion No Matter What


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Alana Nichols’ Wild Idea: To become a world-class athlete despite any limits.

At 17, Alana was on her way to college on a softball scholarship when she attempted a flip snowboarding, and landed directly on a rock on her back. She suffered a spinal cord injury that left her paraplegic. Instead of giving up sports altogether, Alana transitioned to adaptive sports, quickly becoming a top Olympic competitor in skiing, wheelchair basketball and sprint kayaking. She has some crazy stories about falling, and about winning. She has most recently taken up surfing, and is one of a few females competing in adaptive surfing, and helping pave the way for more to come.

Listen to this episode if you:

  • Want to get massively inspired.
  • Love the Olympic Games and sports.
  • Have ever felt like giving up on anything.
  • Want to hear what it’s like to be on shows like Conan O’Brien and compete in the Olympics.

Key Takeaways

  • 02:45 – Alana recently got into surfing and describes today’s conditions.
  • 10:40 – Alana never planned on surfing. How she got into it.
  • 11:29 – The kayaking practices were grueling. Alana was getting up at 5am to be in the water at 6am for two straight years.
  • 12:58 – Alana discusses what her athletic career was like before she went to college and before her accident.
  • 19:45 – Alana had to overcome her accident. Why sobbing wasn’t an option.
  • 20:15 – Alana shares what it’s like playing wheelchair basketball.
  • 23:55 – Losing the use of both Alana’s legs was not the hardest thing she’s been through. She shares her story of losing her brother.
  • 29:23 – Alana’s experience on the Conan show.
  • 32:20 – Alana always had to fight to put herself out there to make things happen.
  • 38:15 – Advice Alana would give her 15-year-old self. Slow down.
  • 39:30 – Alana discusses her morning routine.
  • 40:52 – Alana’s message to the world. Do the best you can with what you have, where you are.
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