At the FGL we get a lot of people who write in asking how they can get involved…the sport is infectious, and not everyone is meant to be a player, but there are lots of ways to get involved from event staff and behind the scenes logistics, to media, and sports commentators.  

Rarely though, do we find someone who impresses us right off the bat with their dedication, willingness to receive feedback, and eagerness to improve and prove themselves.  At the beginning of this Season, Mallory Bailey did all of those things and more, and as we continue to get to know her, the more we believe she’s going places.  This is a little bit about her story – if you love rooting for the underdog, if you get excited following an athletic journey from the very beginning (what if you followed Tia Toomey from her start in the gym?), and if you love a good human interest piece, read on.  

Mallory started off life with Olympic dreams – she was a high level figure skater, making appearances at Jr. Nationals and some international competitions, and her entire childhood was dedicated to the sport.  At 14 though, an injury and diagnosis of an autoimmune disease ended her Olympic dreams, and she struggled with health issues though high school.  At 18 she almost died with a severe bout with Steven Johnsons Syndrome, and from there she barely recognized herself anymore.  She got up to 200 pounds, hardly moved from the couch, and couldn’t remember herself as the Olympic hopeful she once was.  

“I felt lost, l was letting mental and physical illness erase my spirit. It wasn’t just the illnesses that had gotten to me though, I had let fear overtake my life. I was so afraid of being in pain or not being able to accomplish my dreams that I had told myself it wasn’t worth trying. One day I just got sick of living like that, I had hit bottom and the only choices I had were to give up on life completely or try something. I chose to try!”
After leaving a bad relationship, Mallory took a job at SeaWorld working in the gift shops. Talking with animal care staff there, and being inspired by their encouragement, she finally decided to work towards something again. She started walking the path of becoming a zookeeper, but athletic dreams were still calling her.  To be a zookeeper, one needs to be functionally strong to shovel poop and scuba drive, so Mallory started CrossFit.  Her fire was lit again, and as she became better in the gym, she started watching other athletes around her, some of whom successfully transferred to the sport of Bobsled. Her excitement about going to the Olympics was reignited. 

For the first time, she found a sport where her natural body size and power were embraced, and she felt confident in herself and her abilities.​When Mallory decides to do something, she goes all in.  She retired from zookeeping and built her life around her goals, working as a high school science teacher for the extra time and flexibility to train.  Before school, after school and weekends are dedicated to multiple training sessions a day, and hammering away at her weaknesses.  If you follow her social media you’ll see raw abilities being shaped, a positive role model through adversity, and a real human going after a big goal.  Somehow, she also found time to become the FGL’s staff coordinator for the 2021 season and dedicates hours every week to communicating and building relationships with our staff.  She’s become an integral part of how our matches are able to happen.

The next step for Mallory is to capitalize on her bobsled potential.  She auditioned for and was invited to Lake Placid for the 2020 summer Rookie Camp and shocked herself by coming in first at the end of camp rank.  Her goal is to be the most driven athlete in training, and make the team for the 2026 Olympics.  She says “I never imagined I would go from almost couch-bound to being an Olympic team contender in a matter of four years…truly, if I can do this, anybody can.”  

After watching the dedication Mallory has for her sport, and our sport, and the sweet, hardworking person behind those goals, we can’t wait to see where she goes with her dreams.  We’ll be watching, and hope you will too!

If you want to follow or support Mallory, click below!