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Where is Former Olympic Gold Medalist Carly Patterson Now?

The former champion is now a mom, wife, singer and motivational speaker, inspiring others with her journey beyond gymnastics.

By Clara Faulkner
Kelly Clarkson, Peyton Manning & Mike Tirico Preview Paris Olympics Opening Ceremony

Carly Patterson captivated the world with her elite gymnastics skills during the early 2000s.  Rising from a young gymnast to a global sensation, Patterson’s Olympics success in 2004 kicked off a run of U.S. domination that continues to this day.

At 16 years old, Patterson burst onto the international stage at the 2004 Athens Olympics. There, she executed a balance beam routine and a stunning floor exercise that propelled her to Olympic glory as the second American woman ever to win the women's individual all-around gold medal, and the first at a non-boycotted Olympics (the Soviet Union sat out the 1984 Los Angeles Games in response to the United States boycott of the 1980 Moscow Games.

Since then, Patterson has transitioned from competitive gymnastics into broadcasting and motivational speaking. She has appeared as a commentator for gymnastics events and has shared her insights and experiences with audiences worldwide.  

RELATED: Everything To Know about Olympic Champion Gymnast Simone Biles ahead of the 2024 Summer Games

This strong foundation helped her rise to the pinnacle of the sport, making her journey from a small-town girl to an Olympic champion a remarkable story.

Carly Patterson after winning gold n the Women's Individual All-Around in the Olympics

Where is Carly Patterson from?

Patterson's journey to Olympic gold began with a dose of southern charm and a touch of destiny in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Raised in a home where athleticism was a legacy, the three-time Olympic gold medalist found her passion for gymnastics ignited after a visit to Elite Gymnastics during a cousin’s birthday party, per Big 12 Sports.

Yohanan Moyal, a fellow Olympian, played a crucial role in shaping Patterson's gymnastics career as her trainer.

In a 2015 interview with Discover Gymnastics, Patterson fondly remembered a powerful quote from her coach, Yohanan Moyal: “He always told me, ‘Hard work never disappears.’ When I was having bad days and things weren’t clicking in the gym, he would tell me this, and it always helped me put things in perspective. It’s been a very important quote throughout my life and something that I still have to tell myself today. It’s my favorite quote.”

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Patterson's family relocated to Houston, Texas, due to her father's job as a finance manager, before settling down in Dallas, where Patterson commenced training at the World Olympic Gymnastics Academy under the guidance of coaches Evgeny Marchenko and Natasha Boyarskaya, according to the gym's site. Patterson's international gymnastics career took off during this period, beginning her competitive journey at 12.

Carly Patterson during her beam routine at the 2004 olympics

What Olympics did Carly Patterson compete in?

At just 13 years old, Patterson received the prestigious opportunity to compete at the 2001 Goodwill Games in Brisbane, Australia. The Goodwill Games were created by media mogul and CNN founder Ted Turner in 1986 amidst concerns about the potential demise of the Olympic Games due to political tensions during the Cold War. The games, established to foster goodwill and competition between nations, featured athletes from across the globe competing in a range of sports.

According to the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame, entering the final rotation on floor exercise, Patterson stood on the brink of clinching the coveted All-Around gold medal with only an average score needed. However, she fell several times and tumbled to a 7th-place finish.

She suffered another setback two years later, this time in the form of a broken elbow, which kept her from competing in the 2003 National Championship. However, she successfully petitioned for a spot on the U.S. team at the 2003 World Gymnastics Championships, and earned the all-around silver medal (which helped propel Team USA to the team gold).

All the while, she maintained her dream of competing at the Olympics.

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“I always kept my goals in the back of my head, especially on the hard days when I wanted to give up. There actually was a time I said I wanted to quit, and I took a week off and couldn’t stand not getting to be in the gym by the end of that week, so to me, that was a big help in realizing how badly I wanted to achieve my goals and how much I loved being in the sport,” she said in her 2015 with Discover Gymnastics.

As Patterson prepared for the Athens 2004, she encountered a unique set of pressures. Despite facing setbacks at the Olympic Trials, where she lost her balance on the beam during both competition days, Patterson's resilience and determination remained unwavering. Her strong performances at a national training camp earned her a spot on the Olympic team.

In Athens, Patterson clinched the top overall in the preliminary round, securing her spots in both the all-around and balance beam finals. However, despite her success, Team USA, including Patterson, faced challenges in the team final. The Team USA women had to settle for silver despite reigning world champions.

Despite a rocky start on vault in the All-Around final, Patterson rallied in the following three events and secured the Olympic All-Around gold medal. Her victory marked a historic moment, making her the first US woman to achieve this feat since Mary Lou Retton in 1984. Patterson's win also kicked off a streak of five consecutive All-Around gold medalists from Team USA, including Nastia Liukin, Gabby Douglas, Simone Biles, and Sunisa Lee.

Don't Miss

Watch live coverage of the Opening Ceremony on Friday, July 26, on NBC and Peacock beginning at 12 p.m. ET. Telemundo will provide Spanish-language coverage beginning at 1 p.m. ET. Primetime coverage starts at 7:30 p.m. ET/PT on NBC and Peacock.

Following her historic gold medal win at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Patterson retired from competitive gymnastics due to a back injury. Despite achieving the pinnacle of her sport, the physical demands of elite-level competition brought her career to an early conclusion, signaling the end of an era for one of America's most celebrated gymnasts.

In 2009, Patterson's contributions to gymnastics were honored when she was inducted into the USA Gymnastics Hall of Fame and, on May 18, 2024, into the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame. 

Carly Patterson attends Glamour Women of the Year Awards in 2011 in a pink dress

Is Carly Patterson married?

The Olympic gymnast embarked on a new chapter of her life as she exchanged vows with Accenture strategy consultant Mark Caldwell in a picturesque ceremony held in Dallas, Texas, on November 3, 2012, according to People.

The couple's love story blossomed following their initial meeting at a mutual friend's wedding. This led to three years of dating before they embarked on married life.

While the couple’s journey to parenthood wasn't without its challenges. 

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Patterson candidly shared the struggles they faced during pregnancy, including past fertility difficulties, detailed in a 2017 interview with NBC 5. “I just want my story to be something that is encouraging and uplifting and hopeful. We went through those really difficult, hard times, but now we are on the other side, and we have our sweet little blessing on the way," she said. 

After months of trying to conceive without success, Patterson sought medical advice and underwent testing, only to receive a diagnosis that would alter her journey to parenthood. She discovered she had polycystic ovary syndrome, a medical condition that was hindering her ability to conceive.

"This body that had achieved a gold medal at the Olympics, you know, one of the toughest things you can ever do, was, at this point, failing me, and that was difficult," Patterson said.

Despite setbacks, including a miscarriage and multiple surgeries, Patterson and Caldwell persevered, eventually welcoming their son Graham into the world after undergoing three rounds of intrauterine insemination.  

Today, Patterson and Caldwell are proud parents to three beautiful children.

When did Carly Patterson become a singer?

Following her retirement from gymnastics in 2006, Patterson embarked on a new career path in music. In 2009, she debuted as a singer and songwriter with her first release.

In a 2008 interview with Teen Vogue, Patterson expressed her deep love for music, “A lot of people didn’t know that I could sing and that it was just as much something I loved to do as gymnastics. It was something I always loved, and, in the back of my head, I knew I could make it.

Patterson landed a record deal with Musicmind Records, headquartered in Chicago, to pursue her lifelong ambition of becoming a recording artist. 

Despite her temporary pause on music, she reminisced about her aspirations in a 2023 interview with Digital Journal. "Growing up, my father sang worship music, and he still performs in a band today. After retiring from gymnastics, delving into music and aiming for a Grammy seemed like the natural progression for me. I soon realized just how challenging that journey could be," Patterson shared.

Since the games, Patterson has kept busy with various event appearances, both gymnastics-related and music. The athlete has made memorable appearances, including starring in a Mobile ESPN commercial aired during Super Bowl XL and appeared on Celebrity Duets alongside Jesse McCartney, a show produced by Simon Cowell.

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