Dr Jessica Gallagher
Summer & Winter Paralympic Medallist, Passionate Keynote Speaker
Dr Jessica Gallagher was just 17 when she was diagnosed with a rare, degenerative eye disease. Although her diagnosis impacted her sporting dreams as a netballer, Jessica never lost sight of her dream to fulfill her sporting and academic potential and to represent her country.
Neither did it stop her from creating stunning sports history by becoming the first Australian athlete to medal at a summer and winter Games (Vancouver 2010, Sochi 2014 and Rio 2016), successfully represented Australia in 3 sports (alpine skiing, athletics and most recently track cycling) and is a World Champion and World Record holder in the tandem sprint (track cycling).
Dr Jessica Gallagher’s story of resilience against all odds, and her anecdotes of competing at international level, are inspiring and empowering for audiences of all ages and backgrounds.
More about Dr Jessica Gallagher:
Four years after her diagnosis, aged 21, Jess found the world of Paralympic sport. Despite being banned from competing at the Beijing Paralympics in 2008 because she was too sighted, Jess pursued her passion and, having lost more sight, became Australia’s first female winter Paralympic medallist in 2010.
Jess went on to become a dual summer and winter Paralympian. She won a second bronze medal at the 2014 Winter Paralympics and made the switch to a third sport of track cycling. In March 2016 Jess made a stunning debut for Australia alongside her pilot becoming World Champions in the tandem match sprint breaking the flying 200m World Record in the process.
In September 2016 at the Rio Paralympics, Jess created stunning sports history becoming the first Australian athlete to medal at a summer and winter Paralympics or Olympics after winning bronze in the 1km Time Trial joining only a handful of other athletes around the world to achieve this incredible feat.
In the lead up to the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast, Jess was appointed as a Commonwealth Games Sports Ambassador for Cycling and at the Games will compete in two cycling events including the sprint.
Off the bike Jessica is an Osteopath, Board Director and global ambassador for Vision 2020 Australia and ambassador for Vision Australia and Seeing Eye Dogs Australia.
It’s somewhat ironic that the expert who might lead us into this future is one with low vision but an acute foresight around what it will take to thrive.
Jessica Gallagher talks about:
Jessica’s inspiring story is unlike any other. Most know her as the only Australian athlete to have medalled at a summer and winter Paralympics or Olympics but Jess achievements on and off the sporting field run far deeper. In her keynote she shares how her journey transpired from losing over 90% of her eye sight at 17 to representing Australia in 3 completely different sports. The challenges she has faced, overcoming fear, taking risks and the most unique relationship in sport. Her mantra Trust – Mindset – Courage are skills required and relevant in all facets of our lives none more so than when flying down a mountain at over 100km/hour and entrusting someone else telling you how to get there. Are you ready to take the leap?
Dr Jessica Gallagher not only delivers a remarkable presentation, she also takes those in the room along for the ride with her inspiring story that captivates the entire audience. Jessica shows that no matter your capabilities, anything is achievable with passion, determination, strength and persistence in what you enjoy most in life. Jessica leaves the audience wanting more and more!
-ASFA - The Voice of Super
To say that Jessica is inspiring is to understate the truth. She is vibrant, entertaining, motivating, inspiring and so much more. Our audience was enraptured by her story and she made them feel that they are part of her journey. I know that every one of our delegates will be tuning into the Paralympics to watch Jessica and will feel that they have a personal interest in her events. We will all be rooting for her.
-Local Government Managers Australia Queensland
Thanks to our I Support Women in Sport (ISWIS) campaign, I crossed paths with this inspiring, driven, vivacious and smart woman about five years ago. While I'm impressed with her sporting and education achievements, I've been even more impressed by her off-field performance. She is the utmost professional. She was the keynote speaker at our 2014 ISWIS Awards' night and she was absolutely fantastic - well-prepared, interesting and had the room riveted the entire time she was on stage. I look forward to working with this fantastic woman in the future (and not just because she goes for the same footy team. Go Geelong!).
-Women’s Health Magazine Australia
Having Jess Gallagher come and speak to 1,000 secondary students at The National Young Leaders Day in 2014 was such a privilege. She followed and understood the brief exactly and was engaging, inspiring, personable and a great communicator. The students submit a survey at the end of the event and Jess was voted as favourite speaker for the day! She was extremely easy to work with in the lead up to the event and I wouldn’t hesitate having her come again.