4-Time Olympian. Breast Cancer Survivor. Champion.
Can you imagine jumping 6’ 8.75” into the air backwards, over a bar, and without a trampoline? For 28 years, Chaunte Lowe beat the odds of poverty, displacement, and maintaining her status as one of the world’s reigning high jump queens. Realizing her childhood dream of going to the Olympics at just 20-years-old, Chaunte became the first woman from Georgia Tech’s track and field team to earn an Olympic berth. She would go on to compete in Athens, Beijing, London, and Rio, earning the Olympic Bronze medal and medaling three times at the World Championships and twelve times at the U.S. National Championships. Chaunte is no stranger to winning, in other words, but it wasn’t until her recent battle with breast cancer that she tapped into a new, even deeper source of strength: fighting on behalf of us.
This mother of three, wife to fellow elite athlete Mario Lowe, and business owner is focus personified. Three years outside of the summer Olympics in Rio and far from the trainers and nutritionists who used to watch her around the clock, Chaunte was diagnosed with a particularly aggressive form of breast cancer that would require a double mastectomy and nine months of chemotherapy. After learning more about the disease—particularly that occurance rates were rising, not declining, especially among populations historically most impacted—she decided to champion self-care and awareness, in the hopes of sparing other mothers, sisters, and daughters.
At the time of diagnosis, Chaunte had retired from sports and was building a new career as a financial advisor for a Fortune 100 company. While it was a comfortable existence and it represented the physical break she had long earned, she knew it wasn’t the platform that would bring the most awareness to the cause. So, what did she do? She laced up, and—in between chemotherapy drips, while recovering from a double mastectomy with three young children at home—Chaunte went back to work at the business she knew best; announcing to the world that she would attempt a comeback and train for her 5th Olympic Games, while undergoing the literal fight for her life.
Doing so endeared Chaunte to the world once again and we rooted alongside her—in that golden hour of 2019 pre-COVID—through the pandemic shutdown and postponement of the 2020 Tokyo games. This talk is for anyone who needs a reason to rise up, to overcome stacked odds, to reconnect with purpose, and to find a surprising inner source of strength long after you thought you had it all figured out.
Stronger Together: what losing can teach us about winning
Chaunte Lowe's path from an impoverished childhood in Paso Robles, California—marked by constant displacement and periods of homelessness—to becoming a 4-time Olympian and World Record-Holder is nothing short of astounding. However, it was during the run-up to the Tokyo Olympics in 2021 that she truly captured our hearts, becoming a regular fixture on TV and radio, as she tackled the battle of her life, and galvanized a community in the process.
Photos: courtesy Chaunte Lowe
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