Our guest on the show this week is Olympic gold medal winner, Kaleigh Gilchrist.
Born and raised in Newport Beach, California, Kaleigh was drawn to the water as a kid and fell in love with both surfing and water polo almost immediately.
Kaleigh competed at the World Surfing Games for five consecutive years in her teens while helping her high school team to win a California Interscholastic Federation water polo championship. She also won back-to-back USA Surfing Under 18 Championships during high school.
Fast forward a few years and Kaleigh found herself representing Team USA in Rio winning an Olympic Gold Medal in water polo and is now splitting her time on the World Surf League Qualifying Surf Series and in the pool with Team USA.
It was during this time that Kaleigh struck up a friendship with another Team USA member – Kobe Bryant.
“Back in 2017, I had the opportunity to randomly meet him at the swim club where I trained. I noticed Kobe was there and went and introduced myself and said ‘Hey, Mr. Bryant, my name is Kaleigh Gilchrist, and I wore number 10 representing Team USA just like you did.’ And he was just so cool. He was like ‘No way. Water polo? We watched you win gold.’”
Gilchrist and Bryant would exchange messages over the years and Gilchrist credits his “Mamba Mentality” for helping her focus, especially during the pandemic when things were shut down and she was unable to train.
Kaleigh is now training for the Toyko Olympic games and one more shot at Olympic gold.
In this interview, Kaleigh discusses her attraction to the water, surfing almost since birth, striking up a friendship with the basketball legend, preparing to play in front of empty arenas, and the really weird place she keeps her gold medal.