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24 May 2022

Overcoming adversity as a winner

Karina Hollekim, Norwegian free skier and base jumper, will share her story about tragedy following a near-fatal accident, and subsequent triumph, responding to her profound, life-changing experience of overcoming the unexpected challenge with planning and determination.

She is the first female athlete to complete a ski base. In August 2006 she had a near-fatal crash after her parachute failed during a routine parachuting jump. She hit the ground at over 100 km/h (60 mph), and her legs were fractured in 21 places. Although doctors said she would never walk again, after 20 surgeries she recovered and was back skiing in 2007. Her biographical movie 20 Seconds of Joy won both the Best film on Mountainsports as well as the People's choice awards at the 2007 Banff Mountain Film Festival. In November 2011 Hollekim published her autobiography (co-authored with Odd Harald Hauge), The Wonderful Feeling of Fear with Gyldendal Publishing.

Hollekim offers a glimpse into her own mountain-tops and challenges and inspires spectators to focus on the inner power to overcome hardship and create a new life experience from the ashes of adversity. 'Rehab was the toughest thing I have ever done. I have used my body for everything from running in the mountains, to jumping off something, to skiing and suddenly I get stuck in a wheelchair for an indefinite time. I was frustrated, angry, and sad. I didn't have much faith that I would make it but I felt obligated to continue fighting so I wouldn't let my friends down because they believed in me so much. When I was wheelchair-bound, I started boxing with my personal trainer. I had my two arms and I could still punch and let off all the steam I had built up inside of me. It was a great feeling to punch him as hard as I could!'

Hear from Karina during her keynote speech to learn from her strength and to be inspired to always keep fighting for what you are passionate about!