Olympian Christine Magnuson Swims Into Silicon Valley


“I love to realize that you can be in the moment. The background is as important or not important as you want to make it.”

Episode Description

Two-time Olympic medalist Christine Magnuson opens up to David about her journey to the Olympics and onwards to Silicon Valley. An example of incremental growth and triumph, Christine gets real with David about the realities of post-Olympic depression and adapting to life beyond professional sports. From swimming laps against the clock to diving headfirst and fast into the corporate world, Christine reveals how she transitioned from a momentous career in professional swimming to making it in Silicon Valley.

Guest Info

With two Olympic medals from the 2008 Beijing games and seven years on the U.S. National Team, Christine Magnuson made quite the splash in professional swimming. A native of Tinley Park, IL, Christine has since relocated to Silicon Valley to work as a Solutions Engineer in the tech industry.


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Show Notes

  • Earliest sports memory -- the tall three year old [5:39]

  • Dad as dad not coach [7:50]

  • Skull Wars reaps long-term benefits [9:05]

  • Tinley Park to the rescue -- the road to Beijing [10:44]

  • An underdog mentality [13:09]

  • What’s enjoyable about a gruesome process? [14:16]

  • College swimming -- go Vols! [16:30]

  • Moving towards the Olympic mindset [18:52]

  • Michael Jackson’s Thriller: racing an Olympian, moonwalking the pool deck [21:23]

  • Discovering side-breathing -- unexpected technique change [23:23]

  • Beyond nationals -- Olympic trials [25:50]

  • Finding the fun [27:56]

  • Prepping for the Olympics [29:32]

  • Making it is the hardest part [33:05]

  • The journey to the podium at the Olympic games -- annoying Australians, honest nerves [34:06]

  • The Photoshop effect -- picking your backdrop [36:35]

  • Christine’s Olympic moment [39:19]

  • What happens after the Olympics? [41:06]

  • The scariest thing [42:46]

  • Prepare yourself: The fight against post-Olympic depression [45:01]

  • Recovery time -- beyond the physical, prioritizing the emotional [47:55]

  • Retirement approaches [52:20]

  • Motivation beyond the athletic world [53:53]

  • Starting the second act -- translating swimming skills to a company [55:15]

  • The Olympic network -- landing her first job [56:25]

  • A new Photoshop background -- transitioning to the business world [58:28]

  • Athletes as business people [59:40]

  • The move to Silicon Valley -- being the feedback junkie [1:00:31]

  • Building an environment for consistent improvement [1:02:55]

  • How to retire: a college course by Christine [1:03:45]

  • Endorphin transition -- the physical change [1:05:29]

  • Setting yearly goals -- a commitment everyday health [1:09:45]

  • Perks of meditation [1:10:33]

  • Teleportation and coding [1:13:40]

  • Happy place [1:14:47]

  • Final advice [1:15:27]

People Mentioned

David GardnerSeason 1