Former BMX Pro, U.S. Olympic Coach & Recovering Addict
On December 13th, 2008, Tony Hoffman was paroled by the California Department of Corrections after serving a two-year sentence for a drug-related robbery. While incarcerated, Tony set four goals: Race BMX professionally, go to the Olympics, start a non-profit called the Freewheel Project, and become a professional mental health and substance abuse speaker. Read More >
TEDx: The Stigma of Addiction
From Prison To The Olympics | Tony Hoffman Speech | Goalcast
In this speech, Tony reflects strongly on a specific “choice” that changed his life forever. Often times, individuals may think that small, and insignificant choices have no impact on their lives. Tony walks audiences through a candid set of choices, attitudes, and thought processes that lead him to his first drug. He tells his audience about how dangerous the use of drugs really is. He recalls picking up marijuana for the first time, the small choice he made that opened up the door for prescription painkiller and heroin abuse. It was that choice, the small, and at that time insignificant decision that changed his life forever. As Tony reaches the climax of his life experiences, audiences learn how that choice ultimately left him hopeless, homeless, and in a state of despair, while he suffered with substance-abuse addiction. With all the twist and turns in Tony’s life, he is able to leave his audience with a new sense of hope and empowerment. Tony speaks of overcoming, and how his new way of thinking and choice-making allowed him to become a professional athlete, Olympic coach at the Rio Olympic Games, and a successful business owner who is dedicated to bettering his community. This speech is great for substance-abuse talks and can be tailored for many different discussions.
In this keynote, Tony advocates strongly that communities must shift their thinking on addiction. He focuses on how we can all work together to improve addiction rates across the country. From his own personal experience as a successful young athlete, to losing everything from substance abuse, Tony describes the darkest moments of his life that was lead by addiction, and how surviving the storms inspired him to take action through his recovery. Tony details his recovery process, and highlights where it all started - in a prison cell. He also shares how his non-profit organization, and organization that utilizes action sports, is a staple in his sobriety. Audiences are left inspired as Tony maps out his life experiences with substance abuse, and individuals of all ages can see how his recovery took him from homeless in 2006, to the 2016 Olympic games. This keynote is ideal for community organizations, governments, and treatment facilities.
"Tony came to share his story with our high school students. But it isn’t just his story that touched our kids. It is the connection he makes with them on every level. His message is powerful, there is no doubt about that, but it’s also how he relates to kids and how much he cares deeply about them. It’s the caring that shines through as he answers questions and speaks individually with them in the lobby after his talk. It’s his interaction with them on social media. It is rare to see someone give so much of themselves. It is a gift that Tony Hoffman is sharing to help others. Thank you, Tony. You are making a difference in the lives of those fortunate enough to hear your message."
"Tony’s message is one of hope with a challenge to others. His powerful story-telling ability and incredible authenticity in sharing his experience and insight left an auditorium full of high school students, who were silent throughout his presentation, cheering for more when it was over. Tony is, hands down, the best speaker that OCADA Coalition has sponsored."
"Tony captivated the students’ attention with his transparent and authentic story. His message instills hope, motivates, and inspires all to be the best version of themselves. We hope to have him back!"
"His presentation was very open and honest and hit some points that I have not heard from other speakers. His candidness about his descent into drugs was something that I think the youth need to hear. I believe that Tony was one of the best speakers that I have heard in the school system."
"I wanted to personally thank you for coming to Biddeford High School. I can't even tell you how many emails and Facebook messages I have received telling me how powerful and inspirational you were. Our kids specifically talked about how you were "real" and didn't preach at them. To quote one student, 'This was the best speaker we have ever had.'"
"Tony’s speaking engagement was awesome, he is fantastic, so humble and engaging. It was truly an honor to meet him and hear his story; many people came away with something that they didn’t know before and a few even stated that their perspective on individuals with addiction issues was changed. I wish him the best of luck on his continued journey!!"
"Tony’s engaging presentation truly impacted the middle and high school students’ perception about drug use and abuse. He grabbed and held on to their attention as he educated more than 2,000 students about the stark reality of how addiction completely took over and almost destroyed his life."
"Our keynote, Tony Hoffman, was extremely professional, took extra time to be briefed about the event beforehand and really structured his speech around our objective while humbly sharing his story. Our audience consisted of a very wide variety of people, from MD’s to middle school kids, and the feedback we received was AMAZING!"
“Tony’s dynamic presentation style and engaging story kept all of our students on the edge of their seats. Our students have responded very positively to Tony’s message and I would absolutely recommend his presentation to anyone looking to educate, inspire, and motivate their students to make healthy choices.”
“I would travel the country to see you speak again. I attend conferences (a lot) and have never been so moved and impacted by a keynote speaker. As a public defender I don’t always get to hear the depths of people’s journeys – thank you so much for your courage and willingness to share. Your talk alone made the conference worth it. I will be sharing the webcast with my judges, prosecutors, and community partners as soon as I get back! #breakthestigma”
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