Nelson Dellis

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Nelson Dellis
Nelson Dellis headshot.jpg
OccupationPublic speaker, memory consultant
Known forMemory athletics
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Nelson Dellis
Nelson Dellis headshot.jpg
OccupationPublic speaker, memory consultant
Known forMemory athletics

Nelson Dellis is a memory athlete, public speaker, and consultant.

Early life and background[edit]

Dellis was born to a Belgian mother and a French father, and grew up in England, France, and the United States.[1][2] He attended high school at Gulliver Preparatory School in Miami, Florida.[1] After graduation, he went on to attend the University of Miami, where he graduated with a major in physics and a minor in mathematics. He then earned a master's degree in computer science, also from the University of Miami.[1][2] He is a mountain climber who has made two attempts to climb Mount Everest, and has scaled Alaska's Mount McKinley along with other mountains around the world.[1][2][3]

Mental athletics[edit]

Dellis was originally inspired to improve his memory after seeing the decline of his grandmother's memory due to Alzheimer's disease, and entered his first memory competition in 2009.[4] He has since placed in a number of competitions. In the US Memory Championship, he took third place in 2010,[5] first place in both 2011 and 2012,[6] second place in 2013,[7] and first place again in 2014. He also placed 7th in the 2012 World Memory Championships.[5]

Dellis holds a number of memory records, including the US national record for memorizing a deck of shuffled cards in 63 seconds[2] as well as the US national record for memorizing the most digits in 5 minutes, with 303 digits memorized.[8] He is also ranked 15th in the world for memorizing a deck of cards, with a time of 40.65 seconds,[5] the fastest time for an American in an international competition.[9] He currently ranks 21st in the world as a memory athlete.[5]

Dellis was featured in the 2012 documentary Ben Franklin Blowing Bubbles at a Sword: The Journey of a Mental Athlete.[2] He also appeared in the Science Channel program Memory Games in July 2013, which covered the 2013 US Memory Championships.[10] He has also been interviewed regarding memory training on Today,[11] The Dr. Oz Show,[12] and Nightline.[13]


Before becoming involved in memory athletics, Dellis worked as a software developer.[8] He also worked as a Veterinary Technician in Miami. In Chicago, he worked at a local yarn shop, experimenting with large scale knitting projects. He now works as a public speaker and memory consultant, giving talks on his climbs as well as holding seminars about memory techniques.[2][8]

Charity work[edit]

In 2010, Dellis founded Climb for Memory, a charity organization that raises money for Alzheimer's research through sponsored mountain climbs undertaken by Dellis.[2] Fusion-io sponsored an ascent of Everest in 2013, following up on a 2011 attempt in which Dellis had to turn back 280 feet from the summit due to equipment failure.[3]


  1. ^ a b c d Ana Veciana-Suarez (17 April 2012). "One man’s climb for better memory". The Miami Herald. Retrieved 11 July 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Jason Hanna (23 March 2012). "Spurred by love and fear, memory champ aims to inspire". CNN. Retrieved 11 July 2013. 
  3. ^ a b "Fusion-io Backs Everest Effort". 18 April 2013. Retrieved 17 July 2013. 
  4. ^ "'Everyone can do this': American memory champion reveals secrets to his incredible total recall". The Daily Mail. 24 March 2012. Retrieved 11 July 2013. 
  5. ^ a b c d "Nelson Dellis GMM - Grand Master". World Memory Sports Council. Retrieved 17 July 2013. 
  6. ^ David Shapiro (19 March 2013). "A Better Memory Through Pastries". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 11 July 2013. 
  7. ^ "2013 Event Results". USA Memory Championship. 16 March 2013. Retrieved 17 July 2013. 
  8. ^ a b c Christian Salazar (24 March 2012). "Nelson Dellis Wins USA Memory Championship". Associated Press. Retrieved 11 July 2013. 
  9. ^ "Cards under 5 mins". Retrieved 17 July 2013. 
  10. ^ "About Memory Games". Science Channel. Retrieved 17 July 2013. 
  11. ^ "Meet a champion who flexes his memory muscle". Retrieved 24 July 2013. 
  12. ^ "The Superfood That Will Supercharge Your Memory". Retrieved 24 July 2013. 
  13. ^ "Tricks to Improve Your Memory". 23 March 2012. Retrieved 24 July 2013. 

External links[edit]