Philanthropist, Parkinson’s advocate, author, media personality, athlete; at 54 years old, Davis Phinney has accomplished himself throughout his diverse career. Today, as Founder and Vice-Chair of the board of the Davis Phinney Foundation, he is proud of the positive impact the organization has on people like himself that are living with Parkinson’s disease.
As an Olympic Bronze medalist, multi-time National Champion and Tour de France stage winner, Davis Phinney has celebrated the most victories of any cyclist in American history. From the late 1970’s until his retirement from professional cycling in 1993, Davis achieved more wins – 328 victories in all – than any other US cyclist. Davis is one of only three Americans to win multiple stages of the Tour de France, the world’s most prestigious bike race.
After his retirement from cycling, Davis’ career continued as a well-known sportscaster for NBC and ESPN, among others. In 2000, after years of feeling not quite right, and a seemingly endless round of tests, Davis was diagnosed with young-onset Parkinson’s disease.
After his Parkinson’s diagnosis, Davis recognized that exercise had a positive effect on his Parkinson’s symptoms. He saw an opportunity to use his voice to help others living with Parkinson’s to take a more proactive role in improving the quality of their day-to-day living. “We can’t control that we have Parkinson’s,” he says, “but we can control how we live with Parkinson’s.”
The Davis Phinney Foundation was conceived in 2004 as a way to promote and fund innovative research that demonstrates the effects and importance of exercise, speech and other elements that are critical to improving quality of life. The investment in research continues to this day, complemented by informative and motivational programs and tools designed to spur action to improve overall health and manage symptoms. In 2013 alone, the Foundation, whose mission is to help people living with Parkinson’s live well today, reached 15,000 people affected by Parkinson’s through The Victory Summit® symposia, The Living Well Challenge™ webinar series, the Every Victory Counts® manual for self-care and the “Parkinson’s Exercise Essentials” DVD.
Davis’ personal philosophy of looking for and recognizing the positive moments and celebrating the triumphs over Parkinson’s on a daily basis informs the Foundation’s motto, “Every Victory Counts”. According to Davis, “I try to focus on the moment – the moment in which I am more aware of the people and the beauty around me than I am of my Parkinson’s. The more I pay attention to and acknowledge these ‘moments of victory,’ the more they multiply and the better my day, the better my life becomes.”
In 2008, Davis successfully underwent deep brain stimulation (DBS) surgery. Today, he lives in Boulder, Colorado with his wife Olympic Gold Medalist, Connie Carpenter. They have two children, Taylor, an Olympic cyclist and member of Team BMC, and Kelsey, an NCAA Nordic ski racer and neuroscience major at Middlebury College. Davis continues to celebrate the daily victories in his own life and inspires others with his message of optimism and encouragement.