A surprising and inspiring story of courage, perseverance and the triumph of the human spirit.
Just ten weeks before the 1992 Olympic Games, Silken Laumann, the reigning world champion in single sculls rowing, suffered a brutal accident that left her right leg shattered and useless. Doctors doubted that she would ever row competitively again. But twenty-seven days, five operations and countless hours of gruelling rehabilitation later, Silken was back in her racing shell, ready to pursue her dream. When the starter’s pistol rang out on August 2, she made the greatest comeback in Canadian sports history, rowing to a bronze-medal finish while the world watched, captivated by her remarkable story. Silken became one of Canada’s most beloved Olympians and has continued to inspire, encouraging people to dream, live in the moment and embrace life’s unexpected, difficult, and amazing journey .
But there was a massive barrier in her path that she has never before spoken about, a hidden story much darker than the tale of her accident. Now, Silken bravely shines a spotlight on all the obstacles she has encountered—and overcome—in Unsinkable, a memoir that reveals not only new insights into her athletic success and triumph over physical adversity, but also the intense personal challenges of her past and the fierce determination she applies to living a bold, loving and successful life today.
Time after time, this courageous champion has proven to be unsinkable. Silken’s extraordinary story offers us an intimate look at the complicated woman behind the Olympic hero, showing how perseverance and optimism can allow anyone to embrace the incredible opportunities that often go hand in hand with adversity.
Silken Laumann retired from rowing in 1999 with three Olympic medals. She is a popular and passionate speaker and life coach, and contributes to Chatelaine, Today’s Parent and other publications. As the spokesperson for GoodLife Kids, a board member of the Right To Play International and the author of Child’s Play: Rediscovering the Joy of Play in Our Families and Communities, Silken works to improve the lives of children around the world. Silken lives in Victoria with her partner and their four children.
“Even though I’m terrified to be so open about my journey, I have a deep faith in people’s ability to hear with their hearts. I also believe that life is a beautiful, challenging, terrible and exhilarating experience in which we must strive to realize our greatest potential no matter how forbidding that path.” —from Unsinkable
Advance Praise for UNSINKABLE
“Unsinkable is an impressive and humbling testament to the magnitude of Silken Laumann’s courage, endurance and passion. Silken’s moving and surprising journey to inner happiness through personal struggle will inspire readers, showing them her constant drive for excellence even in the face of enormous challenges. Reading this book was an incredible privilege—one that filled me with new insights and fresh inspiration again and again and again.”
Johann Koss, President and CEO, Right To Play International
“Silken Laumann’s story no longer remains untold. Her quest for authenticity is at times brutal, shocking and certainly compelling. Her ultimately triumphant journey took me to places I didn’t see coming.”
Mark Tewksbury, Olympic and Humanitarian Champion