Paralympian gold medalist Victoria Arlen joined ESPN in December 2015 as a features reporter at age 21. She had made her ESPN television debut as a features venue reporter at the 2015 Special Olympics World Games in Los Angeles. In her new official role, she reports for espnW, X Games Aspen and SportsCenter.
Arlen had to overcome unsurmountable odds from a young age. At 11 years old, Arlen was diagnosed with two rare conditions; Transverse Myelitis and Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis. She soon lost the ability to speak, eat, walk and move; doctors believed she had little chance of survival, let alone recovery. Fighting for her life, Arlen persevered through four years of being in a vegetative state and shortly after, began the near-impossible journey to relearn everyday tasks and functions.
Despite facing paralysis due to spinal damage, Arlen has become an accomplished motivational speaker, actress, model and competitive swimmer. In spring 2012, Arlen qualified to compete in the 2012 London Paralympic Games, winning a gold medal in the 100-meter freestyle event in a new World Record time along with three silver medals in the 50-meter, 400-meter and the 4×100-meter freestyle relay. In addition, Arlen has also broken several other World, American and Pan American Records.
Born in Boston, Mass., Arlen was raised in Exeter, N.H., and attended Exeter High School. Despite missing five years of schooling Victoria returned to high school and graduated within three years.