LOS ANGELES, California / USA (Thursday, June 16, 2011) – Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), 23, has had a rollercoaster of a year in 2011. After suffering from a tragic attack in December, the women’s surfing icon has battled to recover from the physical and emotional pain caused from the assault that unfolded in front of her Gold Coast home while trying to maintain her status as the major spokesperson for professional women’s surfing. Gilmore sat down with ESPN in an emotional interview for the first time since the incident to explain what her healing process has been like over the year. This… is their story…
On Dec. 26, 2010, Steph Gilmore was invincible. The then-22-year-old Australian known as Happy Gilmore had just been crowned ASP world champ for the fourth year in a row and was fresh off her third-straight Triple Crown title. She was weeks away from announcing a move to Quiksilver, where she would become teammates with 10-time world champ Kelly Slater and earn the richest contract in women’s surf history: $5 million over five years. Her confidence and happiness were at all-time highs. On Dec. 27, her life changed. That day, Gilmore was attacked outside of her home in Coolangatta, New South Wales, Australia. For the first time, Gilmore opens up about the attack, surfing again and what it’s been like to have her invincibility tested:
“A few days before the attack, a couple friends said to me, ‘With everything going so well, you should think about moving to a more secure apartment. You never know what’s around the corner.’ I was like, ‘Oh, okay, maybe.’ That night, I was supposed to go to the movies with a friend, but there was a change of plans, so I turned around and went home. I am a firm believer that things happen for a reason. I have to walk through a public car park to get to my apartment and I noticed a guy I hadn’t seen before. I didn’t take much notice, but when I saw him a second time, we made eye contact. I got a gut feeling that wasn’t cool with him. When I got to the stairs that lead to my apartment, I turned around and saw him sprinting at me with a metal bar in his hand and he hit me twice. The first time, he hit me in the head. I saw blood all over everything. I put my left wrist up to protect myself and the second hit snapped my ulna and tore ligaments in my wrist. I looked down and saw a big lump on my wrist. My body went into survival mode and, at the time, I didn’t feel pain.
For the full Gilmore interview log on to ESPN.com
For more on Stephanie Gilmore view her full ASP WORLD TOUR PROFILE.