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Maya DiRado      

Four-Time Olympic Medalist; Business Analyst, McKinsey & Company

When Maya DiRado missed out on qualifying for the London 2012 Olympic Games by less than one second, Rio wasn’t anywhere in the picture. Her college swimming career at Stanford University would end in two years and that seemed like the fitting time to hang up her suit.

But, then one thing led to another...

First, in 2014, DiRado was swimming some of the best times of her career. At the 2013 NCAA Championships, DiRado won individual titles in both the 200 and 400 yard IM events in addition to a second place finish in the 200 yard butterfly.

Next, DiRado graduated from Stanford in 2014 with a degree in Management Science and Engineering. Shortly thereafter, she landed a job at McKinsey & Company, a global management consultant. However, her start date with McKinsey was not until the fall of 2015, so DiRado continued to swim throughout the winter.

Then, in January 2015, DiRado decided to go for Rio . With McKinsey graciously allowing DiRado to defer her start date until after the Olympic Games, DiRado invested all of her time and energy to prepare for the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials. Feeling as if she was unprepared for the previous two swimming trials, she was determined to not let history repeat itself for a third time. Her goal was to end her career at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and she was going to do everything in her power to achieve it.

At the 2016 U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials, DiRado fulfilled her goal and then some. Not only did she qualify for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, but she won three different events (200m IM, 400m IM, 200m Backstroke) en route to becoming a breakout star.

Two short months later, DiRado was competing at her first career Olympic Games and she was certain that this would be the final chapter in her swimming career. On the world’s biggest athletic stage, DiRado shined bright and became one of the headline stories winning four Olympic Medals (2 Gold, 1 Silver, 1 Bronze) in as many events.

And, it was only fitting that her final race of her career was a race for the ages. Competing in the 200m Backstroke against the heavily favored ‘Iron Lady’ Katinka Hosszu, DiRado was trailing for a majority of the race. However, the last 20 meters DiRado rallied furiously and with the last arm stroke of her career, DiRado lunged and touched the wall just ahead of Hosszu to secure the first individual Olympic Gold Medal of her career. All of those unexpected turns and hours spent in the pool over the past four years had come together perfectly – the perfect ending to an incredible swimming career.

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