We all meet great people with astonishing stories to tell. Your own stories are exceptional. But there's hardly any other story like Mike's.
Mike chose a military career to obtain a decent and stable life for his sister and himself. Doing so, he served his country including two tours of duty in Iraq. While being a station commander in Nashville, Tennessee, he suffered a hit and run accident causing his right arm to be amputated. Relentlessly he fought to stay in active duty with the United States Army. That being said first sergeant Michael Smith moved from Fort Knox to Colorado Springs to find the best possible training opportunities to train as part of the U.S. Army's World Class Athlete Paralympic Program.
Ever since he fell in love with endurance sports and triathlon specifically, he chases his dream to become one of the best in his field. His goal is set very clearly. Qualification for the Paralympic Games in Paris 2024. Being aware of an incredibly tough journey ahead, he gets up every morning to work and hustle hard. He competes in track and triathlon races throughout the year, including the famous Invictus Games. And yes, he met Michelle and Barack Obama. "You immediately forget who they are because they are so unbelievably down to earth."
Not enough for Mike, indeed. Being part of the USA triathlon foundation, he started his own foundation SwimBikeRun4Equality. Encouraging all those who're sadly still underrepresented in his sport is his heart felt wish.
In 2021 he relocated to McKinney, Texas, where I had the chance to get to know Mike as an athlete at Michael Johnson Performance training facility. He knows his strengths and weaknesses very well, which is the first step to success for every athlete. It's the little details that count as much as consistency. He listens, processes and follows and won't stop until he completes the exercise in perfection.
I am undeniably pleased and honored being a little part of his journey. My ab and hip workouts will probably remind him a little longer about Coach K ;-) from Vienna, Austria.
Mike, what a pleasure!