Meet Brooke Thompson, Deaflympic Gold MedalistJuly 18, 2023 2023-08-07 12:04
Meet Brooke Thompson, Deaflympic Gold Medalist
Meet Brooke Thompson, Deaflympic Gold Medalist
In the world of competitive swimming, Brooke Thompson is making waves as a remarkable athlete and an inspiration for the deaf community. Thompson, while only a college freshman achieved numerous accolades as a member of the US National Team. She has become a beacon of hope for those facing similar challenges.
“I was born deaf. Like many others, I was born to hearing parents. “Thompson said, “I began a baby deaf program when I was 3 months old and learned some sign language to communicate.” She received her first cochlear implant just after her first birthday. The road was far from smooth, “I had to have an explant,” Thompson said, “and reimplant of my first implant.”
Learning to advocate for herself
The challenges of being deaf or hard of hearing fostered a remarkable advocacy spirit in Thompson. “Being deaf/hard of hearing has made me a better advocate for myself. My parents had me practice this at a young age.” She points out that communication has not always been easy, especially when she misses some social cues during interactions.
Thompson overcame communication barriers by encouraging people around her to be mindful of facing her when talking. She pointed out that seeing a person’s face and mouth is important. “I really benefit from speech reading.” Thompson says, “My coaches have been great about making sure that I can see their faces before they begin explaining the next set.” She learned not to be embarrassed and to ask people to repeat when she did not understand them. She believes that this self-advocacy helps her peers as well.
Thompson is an Olympic swimmer and panelist for deaf and hard-of-hearing activities in her community. However, she does not consider herself an advocate of hearing loss. “I don’t think of myself as a hearing loss advocate. I certainly educate people around me and probably have changed their views of what it means to be hard of hearing or deaf, but mostly I am just myself, which is a pretty outgoing, fun-loving person,” she humbly shared.
Finding her passion in swimming
Swimming has been a passion of Thompson since childhood. “My parents say that I have loved water since I was a baby. I did not start organized swimming until I was nine, but I love it. Swimming has become my passion.” She said that being a hard-of-hearing swimmer opened doors that she never knew existed. “I have made friends and gotten to travel and compete at an international level. It helped me realize that I wanted to swim in college,” she shared enthusiastically.
Thompson, a Deaflympic Gold Medalist, is set to embark on her next challenge: the 6th World Deaf Swimming Championship in Argentina in August 2023. Thompson and her USA Deaf Swimming team will compete against 30 different countries during 7-days of grueling competition. In the 2022 games, her team brought back 35 of the 55 US medals. The team expects an equally exciting performance this year.
Her accomplishments in the pool are nothing short of extraordinary and her dedication to the sport has not gone unnoticed.
- 2022 Deaf Olympics Gold Medalist – Women’s 4×100 freestyle relay
- Holds five Bloomfield Hills High School records and
- Set a new Deaf American record at the 2021 Michigan High School State Championships with a 23.81 in the 50-yard freestyle event.
- Holds the 50-meter freestyle Deaf American record at 27.34.
Thompson secured a commitment to continue her swim career with Rutgers University, starting in the 2023-24 school year. With her college career set to begin in the fall, Thompson is studying to become a biomedical engineer. “I enjoy math and am naturally interested in making further advances to help more people.” Thompson said, “I guess it comes honestly as I am bionic myself.”
Thompson is determined to be the best swimmer and student she can be. “I am still working on planning out my goals after that. But overall, swimming has helped my mindset and become stronger,” she explained.
In her journey, Thompson learned that embracing these differences was essential. “Everyone is unique, and everyone struggles. Some people just have a more visible struggle than others. You cannot always choose how you are different, but you can embrace it and embrace the differences in others.” Thompson points out, “You are responsible for yourself and your attitude, so make it a good one.”
Thompson is grateful for the incredible support she has received throughout her journey. She says there are so people who have played an integral role in her development. “I really would like to thank the great people who helped me, especially when I was a young child, those who gave my parents great advice on how to raise me. The speech therapists, audiologists, teachers, and counselors that I was privileged to have,” she concluded with gratitude.
Brooke Thompson’s story is one of inspiration, triumph, and unwavering spirit. Through her dedication to swimming, her academic pursuits, and her advocacy for the deaf community, she is breaking down barriers and proving that nothing is impossible. As she continues to make waves in the world of swimming, Thompson’s legacy extends far beyond the pool, leaving a lasting impact on generations.
And so, in the month of July, we are honored to recognize Brooke Thompson.