Victoria Arlen | Survivor, ESPN & Ninja Warrior Host, Gold Medalist, Author

Victoria Arlen

Survivor, ESPN & Ninja Warrior Host, Gold Medalist, Author

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Victoria Arlen

In 2005, Victoria was 11 years old when she came down with two rare neurological disorders, Transverse Myelitis and Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis. She fought for her life for five years, including four years in a vegetative state where she was 'locked' within herself, unable to communicate with those around her. At times, she suffered seizures for more than 20 hours per day. She was paralyzed from the waist down for a decade and incredibly, regained the ability to walk in 2016. A lifelong swimmer and athlete, despite her illness, Victoria never gave up her childhood dream of competing in the Olympics Games. In June of 2010, she returned to the pool for the first time in over ten years. Two years later, she qualified for the 2012 London Paralympic Games in four different events. There she won a Gold Medal, setting a World Record, and three Silver Medals. Not long after the Paralympics, Victoria realized another dream, becoming one of the youngest on-air hosts ever hired by ESPN. Today, she reports for numerous ESPN programs including X- Games, Invictus Games, The ESPY Awards, espnW, Frozen Four, Special Olympics World Games and Sportscenter. After emerging from four years in a vegetative state, Victoria remained confined to a wheelchair for ten years. Determined to walk, she began aggressive activity based paralysis recovery therapy at Project Walk San Diego. Later, her family opened Project Walk Boston, and there, after two years of therapy, she took her first unassisted step on a long and remarkable road to recovery. One year after taking her first step, Victoria was back. In the fall of 2017, she competed on Dancing With The Stars for nine weeks and was eventually a semi-finalist. During the show, her incredible story was seen and heard by millions, including appearances on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, in People Magazine, and in hundreds of other media outlets across the country. Since winning her gold medal in 2012, embarking on her broadcasting career with ESPN, and gracing the dance floor of Hollywood, Victoria has been invited to share her incredible story across the country and has honed herself into emotionally powerful keynote speaker. She has been a featured TEDx speaker, shared the stage with Preacher Joel Osteen and delivered the keynote address for numerous Fortune 500s including Pfizer, Disney, Microsoft, General Mills and Liberty Mutual Insurance. Through her own heart-wrenching story, Victoria shares her BREAKTHROUGH FORMULA for overcoming even life's darkest challenges. She talks about finding gratitude, an alternative perspective, creating hope, and the power of unrelenting effort. She shares her recipe for using the obstacles in life to create leverage for long-lasting, meaningful change through a story your audience will never forget.

Victoria Arlen
Featured Videos

Current: Connected Keynote

Time 09:58

More Videos From Victoria Arlen

Connected Keynote
Time 09:58
Goalcast: Every Mother's Worst Nightmare
Time 06:47
Speaking Reel
Time 05:11
The Ellen Show
Time 05:32

Victoria Arlen
Featured Keynote Programs

Face it. Embrace it. Defy it. Conquer it!

Her personal mantra, Victoria shares her own story and how to confront any challenge life delivers. She speaks about the perspective we give to the obstacles in our lives, how to change it, and how to push off of those roadblocks to achieve greater heights.


In this presentation Victoria focuses on the power of hope, how to find it when it appears lost forever, and once discovered how to use it to fuel change in our own life and the lives of others.

Victoria Arlen
Featured Book

Locked Inby Victoria Arlen

Locked In

by Victoria Arlen
ESPN personality, former Dancing with the Stars contestant, and Paralympics champion Victoria Arlen shares her courageous and miraculous story of recovery after falling into a mysterious vegetative state at age eleven and how she broke free, overcame the odds, and never gave up hope.

When Victoria Arlen was eleven years old, she contracted two rare diseases simultaneously and fell into a mysterious vegetative state. For two years her mind was dark, but in the third year, her mind broke free, and she was able to think clearly and to hear and feel everything--but no one knew.

Her doctors wrote her off as a lost cause, and Victoria remained a prisoner in her own body for nearly four years. But every day, silently in her own mind, Victoria would pray to God, and she promised Him that if He gave her a second chance, she would make every moment count, and change the world for the better.

At fifteen, against all odds and medical predictions, Victoria woke up. Finally she was able to communicate through eye blinks, and gradually, she regained her ability to speak and eat and move her upper body, but she faced the devastating reality of paralysis from the waist down because of damage to her spine. However, Victoria didn't lose her strength or steadfast determination, and two years later, she won a gold medal for swimming at the London 2012 Paralympics. She went on to become one ESPN's youngest on air-personalities and, after nearly ten years of paralysis, she learned to walk again and even competed on Dancing with the Stars.

In Locked In, Victoria shares her inspiring story--the pain, the struggle, the fight to live and thrive, and most importantly, the faith that carried her through. Her journey was not easy, but by believing in God's healing power and forgiveness, she is living proof that, despite seemingly insurmountable odds and challenges, the will to survive and resolve to live can be a force stronger than our worst deterrents.

Victoria Arlen
Featured Reviews

Victoria Arlen
Featured Articles & Resources

Overcoming Adversity - The Breakthrough Formula

Imagine being trapped. 100% completely trapped. I’m not talking about a temporarily disabled elevator, or in a bathroom with a stuck door or even being locked in a grungy...
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Topics:   Overcoming Adversity ,   Athletes

Overcoming Adversity - The Breakthrough Formula

Imagine being trapped. 100% completely trapped. I’m not talking about a temporarily disabled elevator, or in a bathroom with a stuck door or even being locked in a grungy...
Read More

DWTS' Victoria Arlen Shares About Re-Learning to Talk & Walk After 4 Years in a Vegetative State

The Paralympian and ESPN personality blogs about her Dancing with the Starsexperience exclusively for PEOPLE By Patrick Gomez and Victoria Arlen   Victoria Arlen is an...
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