Our Founder

Silken Laumann

In 1992, I had my own high-profile Olympic story.

While warming up for a World Cup Regatta in Germany, another boat collided full force into mine, driving hundreds of wood splinters into my lower right leg, smashing my ankle, destroying skin and tearing muscle from bone. I was told I would never compete at the Olympics’ again, and that I would walk with a slight limp. Ten weeks later I won an Olympic Bronze medal. From that moment onward I have shared my story and heard the stories of so many.

At first, they were stories of people overcoming physical adversity, motorcycle accidents that tore up half their bodies, childhood diseases that left them walking with braces, stories of courage and perseverance that inspired me each time I heard one. I often thought, I wish everyone could hear these stories! Recently, when I wrote my book Unsinkable, I shared my struggles as a young child growing up with a mom who had an undiagnosed mental illness. I shared my own story about struggling with anxiety and depression and the shame I carried with me for most of my life. Canadians, again, shared their stories with me. Whether they were talking about their own struggles with mental illness or their experiences with physical adversity, because I shared so openly with them, their stories were going deeper and touching upon aspects of self-awareness and personal pain that many of us have struggled with.
I want you to hear these stories. I want you to hear from your heroes, your friends, your neighbours, your children, because their stories have the power to uplift, give courage, and connect us. I wanted to create a space where anybody could go to read about human strength and struggle, get inspired by another’s perseverance, and be uplifted by another human being’s capacity for love. People remember and people connect through storytelling. I hope you see yourself in some of these stories, I hope you identify a little bit of your own courage and tenacity in these lives of fellow humans. What I have taken away is that we are a hearty lot with more guts and determination than we give ourselves credit for.
“We have all struggled. Sharing our stories and the strategies that helped us is a gift to others. Collectively, our lived experience has tremendous power to provide hope, help, and inspiration. I created Unsinkable to give people a voice, an outlet, and a supportive community. I want all people to know that together we really are unsinkable.”
Silken Laumann – Olympian