Massage Therapy & Olympians

Massage therapy is shown to help athletes increase range of motion, improve soft tissue function, improve exercise performance and more. Find out how four Olympic athletes used massage therapy to stay at the top of their game.

Abby Wambach

Soccer player, coach, two-time Olympic gold medalist and FIFA Women's World Cup champion

Later in her career, Wambach found massage therapy to be particularly beneficial. “Massage therapy enables you to bounce back so much more quickly after a game and be able to compete at the highest level,” she explains. “Players are always getting bigger, faster and stronger, so it’s critical to maintain your level of fitness and strength throughout your career. Both nutrition and massage therapy are critical pieces of the puzzle.”

Kerri Strug

Member of the Magnificent Seven, the victorious all-around women's U.S. gymnastics team, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year

For Strug, massage therapy plays a role in helping her feel better. “As an athlete, especially as a gymnast, something is always hurting,” she says. “I saw a massage therapist once a week to help my body feel better.” According to Strug, she also used massage therapy when recovering from some of her big injuries.

Bonnie Blair

Olympic speedskating champion and one of the most decorated athletes in Olympic history

Massage therapy proved most beneficial for her during the fall, when training was at its toughest. “Our legs would be like knots,” Blair remembers. “So, to get them ready for the next hard workout was big.”

Blair also used massage therapy when preparing for Olympic competition. “I probably got massages at least three times a week,” she recalls. 

Alicia Dana

Silver Medal Paralympic Cyclist, National Champion, Team Roger C Peace

"Thanks to Team Roger C Peace, I have been able to get regular massage therapy for the past year. Though only once a week or every two weeks (I could really use more!), it has provided me with the deep relaxation and tension relief I am unable to achieve on my own. It has helped me become more aware of areas of muscle tension, tightness, pain, etc, and more attuned to what I CAN do to alleviate this."

Saturday, October 29, 2-4pm | 2 Credit Hours 

Bringing Home the Gold: Olympians + Massage Therapy

Research shows massage therapy can benefit athletes of all fitness levels, and Olympic athletes are no exception. A panel of elite athletes will share how massage therapy helped them reach their Olympic dreams. The Mayo Clinic’s Dr. Brent Bauer will moderate the discussion and explain the science of massage for athletes.

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