FIVE-TIME OLYMPIAN (1988-2004)- THE SECOND U.S. WOMEN TO QUALIFY FOR FIVE OLYMPIC GAMES IN TRACK AND FIELD  •  THREE-TIME OLYMPIC GOLD MEDALIST (1992 -100M DASH, 1996 -100M DASH, 4X100M RELAY)  •  EIGHT-TIME WORLD CHAMPION  •  10-TIME U.S. CHAMPION  •  1999 VISA USA TRACK AND FIELD HUMANITARIAN ATHLETE OF THE YEAR
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Gail Devers

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Personal Quotes
Keep your dreams alive. Understand to achieve anything requires faith and belief in yourself, vision, hard work, determination, and dedication. Remember all things are possible for those who believe.
Personal Info

Born On:  November 19, 1966
Hometown:  Seattle, Washington
Resides:  Duluth, Georgia
Education:  University of California- Los Angeles: BA Sociology

Biography

Facing Life’s Hurdles Head On

Gail Devers’ path to track and field glory began with impromptu races against her older brother (who didn’t take kindly to being beaten by his little sister). Along the way, she broke barriers, becoming the first female from her Seattle high school to win a track scholarship to a major university (UCLA). She would become one of just two female track and field athletes to compete at five Olympiads, winning three gold medals. Any Olympian will attest to the fact that it’s hard enough to maintain world-class speed and fitness throughout a 20-year elite career.

It takes a special level of resolve to compete on that level when your own body is trying to tear itself apart and merely functioning feels like an Olympic workout.??That’s the situation Devers found herself in while training for her 1988 Olympic debut in Seoul. Her race preparation was hamstrung by migraines, insomnia, vision problems and anxiety. She qualified for the Olympics 100 m hurdles. She advanced to the semi-finals, but her health continued to deteriorate even further. What’s worse, she was misdiagnosed for three years before a doctor finally pinpointed the problem: Graves’ disease, in which an overactive thyroid wreaks havoc on the metabolism.

Unfortunately, the treatment for Graves’, which involves shutting down the thyroid with radioactive iodine and taking synthetic thyroid hormone, is sometimes worse than the disease itself. It can result in wide-ranging complications that require drastic surgery. In fact, the radiation caused Devers’ feet to swell and blister to the point where amputation was a serious threat. ?

With medication, a careful diet and a “don’t quit” attitude, she recovered in time to qualify for the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, where she went on to win her first gold medal in the 100-meter dash. Four years later in Atlanta, she became the first woman in 20 years to repeat as 100-meter champion. She would qualify for the 2000 Sydney and Athens Games, too, although Achilles tendon and hamstring injuries would hamper her medal hopes.

Determined not to let Graves’ Disease get in her way or to let other suffer as she had, Devers went to Capitol Hill in 2002. She testified before Congress with the intention of combatting medical mistakes and misdiagnoses. To this day, she continues to be an advocate in the health and wellness sector, not only on the subject of Graves’ but the importance of communicating openly and honestly with your doctors and health care professionals. ?

Devers is a dedicated wife and an active mom to two daughters, while also balancing several successful business ventures. She helps prepare young football players develop the speed required to succeed in the NFL draft. She also has a foot in the sportswear market by way of Phil Prod LLC and G5, a women’s apparel line she’s developing with her husband Mike.

She is a powerful motivational and educational speaker, especially on topics such as women of achievement, diversity, overcoming challenges, health and wellness, the importance of education and giving back to the Community.