Not many people become professional athletes, and even fewer do it in their 30s, an age when most athletes begin considering retiring. Dede Griesbauer did exactly that, pivoting from a successful financial career on Wall Street to become a world-record-holding athlete and a three-time Ironman winner.
Dede has always been a sporty kid but never saw herself as a standout athlete. She had to walk onto Stanford’s swim team after being turned down but won multiple NCAA honors over her D1 collegiate swim career. While Dede participated in Olympic Trials, she never made the team. She turned her attention to earning an MBA at Wharton and starting a career as an equity trader. In between, she did her first Ironman as a bucket-list adventure, with no idea what the future held.
She is attracted to what she calls “shiny objects,” or achievements where you wonder, “can I do that?” Dede was inspired to do another Ironman a few years into her financial career. She qualified for the world championship as an amateur. The qualification started her down a path that saw her quit her lucrative career and turn pro at age 34.
Dede shares what has propelled her to keep going, even after injuries, aging challenges, and near-career-ending crashes. Her passion for the sport is evident, but so is the need to chase what motivates her and helps her be her authentic self.