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Chatting with Carly Patterson: Olympic gold medalist gymnast

Olympic gold medalist gymnast Carly Patterson chatted about her latest endeavors.

Carly Patterson
Olympic gold medalist Carly Patterson. Photo Courtesy of Carly Patterson
Olympic gold medalist Carly Patterson. Photo Courtesy of Carly Patterson

Olympic gold medalist gymnast Carly Patterson chatted about her latest endeavors.

Carly Patterson: An Olympic dream realized

Patterson won the All Around Gold Medal in Women’s Gymnastics at the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Greece. She was the first American woman to win the title in 20 years, also taking home silver medals for balance beam, and the Women’s team competition.

“Winning the gold felt very surreal,” she admitted. “I was 16 years old and I just accomplished my ultimate goal in life at such a young age. I was like ‘what just happened?’ It was incredible to participate in the Athens Games because of the history behind that, and because it was the birthplace of the Olympics.”

“I just love Greece, it has a special place in my heart,” she added.

She holds the distinction of being the first American woman to win the All Around Gold Medal in Women’s Gymnastics in a non boycotted Olympics. “That was really amazing,” she exclaimed. “I didn’t really know what to expect. It was really awesome to see the people being so happy for me and my country. People were just so proud for that, and that was really cool.”  

Shortly after her return to the USA, she discovered she had several bulging discs in her back and made the difficult decision to retire from the sport.

In the years that followed, she pursued a career in music, went to college, and got married; she is the wife of Mark Caldwell and a mother to three children.

Her achievements as a gymnast and the opportunities she pursued after retiring have given her a unique perspective on success, fulfillment, and taking risks that she shares with audiences as a motivational speaker.

In 2009, she was inducted into the USA Gymnastics Hall of Fame.

Balancing motherhood and a family

On balancing motherhood and a family, she said, “I just take it moment by moment. Motherhood is definitely the hardest thing that I’ve ever done. When I was training in gymnastics, that was all for myself, my dreams, goals, and my ambitions.”

“Now, every day I wake up and I am a parent to these three little kids, and you have to be so selfless in everything that you do, because now, it’s all about them. I want to make sure that I am raising kind human beings,” she added.

“I take motherhood day by day because I work as well and I do motivational speaking,” she admitted. “Quiet time is really hard especially when you have three little ones. Motherhood is just all a balancing act all throughout the day.”

The digital age

On being a part of the digital age, Patterson said, “That is a lot. It is moving at a fast pace and I can’t even keep up. I am thankful that I didn’t win the Olympics in a digital era with social media because there is constant pressure. It’s a lot of pressure, and a lot of eyes constantly on you.”

Carly Patterson: The musician

“Music has always been an interesting part of my life and my career,” she said. ‘I always loved singing and music; I always had a passion for it.”

“Growing up, my father sang worship music and he still sings in a band to this day. Once I retired from gymnastics, the next logical step for me was to try music and go after a Grammy. I realized that was really really hard,” she explained.

“I’ve loved every thing that I pursued in my life, and I learned from each thing and I grew from it,” she added.

She also recalled singing “Beautiful Soul” with Jesse McCartney on “Celebrity Duets.” “That was a fun experience,” she said. “I knew who Jesse was, and I had his CD back in the day.”

Stage of her life

On the title of the current chapter of her life, she revealed, “Mom, wife, and motivational speaker.” “Honestly, it’s a really great chapter… My kids are ages six, four and two,” she said.

Superpower of choice

She listed “flying” and “teleportation” as her superpowers of choice. “Teleportation would be nice because I could snap my finger and be in different places,” she said.


On her definition of the word success, Patterson said, “Success means finding fulfillment in whatever you are doing. Also, taking care of myself and being happy and healthy.”


Patterson concluded our interview by thanking her fans and supporters. “The fans along the way have been so kind and so supportive,” she said. “You need to have a good group of people around you and good relationships with people that will push you and build you up. I had an amazing coach and we still have an amazing relationship.”

To learn more about Carly Patterson, follow her on Instagram, and check out her official website.

Markos Papadatos
Written By

Markos Papadatos is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for Music News. Papadatos is a Greek-American journalist and educator that has authored over 21,000 original articles over the past 18 years. He has interviewed some of the biggest names in music, entertainment, lifestyle, magic, and sports. He is a 16-time "Best of Long Island" winner, where for three consecutive years (2020, 2021, and 2022), he was honored as the "Best Long Island Personality" in Arts & Entertainment, an honor that has gone to Billy Joel six times.

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