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BYU Olympian teaches optimism, overcoming trials in TEDxTalk (+video)

Kate Hansen spoke at a TEDx event hosted by BYU in March about her experience at the 2014 Olympics in March.
Kate Hansen spoke at a TEDx event hosted by BYU in March about her experience at the 2014 Olympics in March.
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Kate Hansen is now student at Brigham Young University but in the middle of her college experience Hansen did what many college students only dream of doing. She competed in the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia. Hansen finished in 10th place in the luge at the Olympics but attracted attention of fans and media around the world. In the TEDxTalk she gave in March, Hansen explained that it wasn't her athletic prowess that won the hearts of people worldwide.

“They remember me for the person that I was. They remember me for the person that I chose to be, for the energy that I brought and the smile that I had,” Hansen said in a TEDxTalks video uploaded last month.

Hansen competed for seven years around the world and her last stop was in Sochi at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games. In the TEDxTalks video, she talks about how her trials, specifically a broken foot the year before the Olympics, helped her to become a better person and a better Olympian.

After she broke her foot, she took a picture outside of a LDS Church building, holding a Book of Mormon. She uploaded it on Instagram with the caption, "A broken leg and a contrite spirit."

“Kate Hansen’s story is about overcoming mind games and self-doubts. She embraced the struggle of becoming an Olympic athlete in luge, an unlikely sport for a Southern California girl who loves to surf and hates the cold. Kate made the most of what was literally a crippling setback. What’s ironic is that Kate isn’t remembered for being one of the best lugers in the world — she’s remembered for the person she is, and for the positive and lighthearted person she chose to be at the Olympic games,” according to the description below the video.

After each day, Hansen would ask herself what positives she saw during the day. Even if her answers seemed small and trivial, she could always find the good in every situation.

“Be present in who you are. Recognize who you are and what you are about and don’t let your environment change you,” Hansen advised the audience.

Hansen is currently studying public relations and business.

Watch the video on YouTube here.

Kelsey Schwab writes for the Faith and Family sections of