Melissa Stockwell | American War Hero, Paralympic Medalist, World Champion, Entrepreneur

Melissa Stockwell

American War Hero, Paralympic Medalist, World Champion, Entrepreneur

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Colorado Springs, CO

Melissa Stockwell

At first glance, Melissa Stockwell may appear to be the quintessential Midwestern All-American mom, but she is far more. She is an American war hero who has triumphed over personal tragedy to achieve greatness, World Champion status, and she has dedicated her life to chasing remarkable accomplishments while giving back to others, particularly those who face challenges similar to her own.

Melissa graduated from the University of Colorado and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the United States Army. She deployed to Baghdad, Iraq where a blast from a roadside bomb struck her Humvee, causing the loss of her left leg above the knee. After enduring numerous infections and surgeries, Melissa was medically retired from the Army. She is the first female soldier to ever loose a limb in active combat and has been awarded both The Bronze Star Medal and the Purple Heart.

Following her accident, sports become the road to recovery for Melissa. In 2008, she became the first Iraqi War Veteran to qualify for the Beijing Paralympics where she was honored by her fellow Team USA athletes to be the flag bearer in the Closing Ceremony. After Beijing, Melissa turned to the sport of Paratriathlon and is now a three-time World Champion. 

On September 11, 2016, at the Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Melissa raced in honor of her fellow soldiers and their families who had given the ultimate sacrifice serving and protecting America. After a grueling race, the day ended on the podium, as the newly crowned Paralympic Bronze Medalist.

Six weeks before the 2021 Paralympics, Melissa broker her back in a training accident, derailing her hopes of winning a gold medal. Nevertheless, despite the pain, she managed to compete at the Paralympic Games, finishing 5th. She is currently training for one more shot at a Paralympic Gold Medal at the Paris Games in 2024.

Melissa Stockwell
Featured Videos

Current: Speaking Reel

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TEDx: Choose Your Story
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Rio Paralympics
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Melissa Stockwell
Featured Keynote Program

The Power of Choice

An aspiring gymnast in childhood, Melissa Stockwell dreamed of someday representing Team USA at the Olympics Games. As college approached, her Patriotic dreams shifted to representing her country as a member of the U.S. Army. Upon graduating, she was commissioned and soon thereafter deployed to Iraq. It was there that a roadside bomb made her the first female American solider to lose a limb in active combat. What followed was a remarkable story of resilience and perseverance, and of the indominable spirit of a woman who chose not only to survive, but to thrive.

Now a Paralympic medalist, a World Champion, a World Record Holder and an Ironman, Melissa’s keynote “The Power of Choice” is an emotionally commanding presentation that will both redefine your perception of disability and inspire you to rethink your own limits.

Melissa Stockwell
Featured Book

The Power of Choiceby Melissa Stockwell

The Power of Choice

by Melissa Stockwell

On April 13, 2004, Melissa Stockwell lost her leg to an IED during a routine patrol in Iraq, making her the first female soldier to lose a limb in the Iraq War. This was just the beginning of her inspiring story of perseverance and triumph.

"I have had the chance to meet Melissa and hear her amazing story in person. In this book, Melissa shares insight on how she became a warrior and fought back to become the champion she is today. She is a great example of perseverance in the face of what appears to be insurmountable hurdles. Her love of country is strong and carries through her joining the military and representing Team USA in the Paralympic Games. A true champion in many ways."--Jackie Joyner Kersee

"Melissa's story of strength and courage is not only incredibly moving, it is a must-read for anyone facing any challenge. Clearly her passion for country and sport drives every one of her accomplishments. From a young gymnast like I was, to representing the United States in Paratriathlon, Melissa inspires us all with her story of overcoming unimaginable adversity and what it truly means to be unstoppable."--Shannon Miller

Melissa Stockwell has been a restless force of nature from the time she was a little girl speeding around her neighborhood on her bike, to her tumbles and spills as a high-level gymnast and Olympic hopeful, to joining the ROTC in college as an outlet for her patriotism and love of America.

After 9/11, she was deployed to Iraq as a commissioned Army officer, where she suffered the injury that would change her life forever. After a long and challenging recovery at Walter Reed Hospital, she exercised her power of choice to channel her energy into competition, winning three Paratriathlon World Championships and medaling at the 2016 Rio Paralympics.

Her journey weaves service to her country and the heartache of a painful divorce along with founding a successful nonprofit, launching a career in prosthetics, finding new love, and becoming a mother to two children. Along the way, she meets all the living American presidents and inspires others with disabilities--through a story that is riveting, moving, and an inspiration for anyone who would choose to live their life to the fullest.

Melissa Stockwell
Featured Reviews

Melissa Stockwell
Featured Articles & Resources

Melissa Stockwell - The Invisible Wounds of War

Brian Lord: I'm Brian Lord, and on the show today, we have American war hero and Paralympic medalist Melissa Stockwell as she shares the story of dancing with the commander...
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Topics:   Olympics ,   American Motivational ,   Medical

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