Deaf Sports Stars21st October 2013
Deaf from birth, Michael Hubbs is a US speed skater working tirelessly to make the Olympic Team
30 years old Michael Hubbs is a man on a mission. Born Deaf in Omaha, Nebraska, Michael has no intention of letting his deafness interfere with his ambitions, and it is a brave man who will bet against him achieving his aims.
Michael was raised in Dallas, but now lives and trains in Milwaukee, where he enjoys excellent training facilities. I was delighted to catch up with Michael to ask him about his sporting ambitions, his life and his thoughts on deaf life.
Michael was born Deaf as was his sister. He was initially brought up in the Joe Lawrence Elementary School as part of a deaf programme before beiing transferred to a Deaf School. He subsequently went on to study at the world renowned Galludet University in Washington, where he obtained his Bachelor's Degree.
A lover of fast cars and motorbikes, Michael's earliest ambitions were centred around owning a business where he could also enjoy his hobby.
Michael's current ambitions surround his involvement in the Olympic Sport of short course speed skating. A late convert, Michael entered the sport as a 28 years old, but his determined attitude and work ethos, has seen him rise quickly up the US rankings. Michael's ambition is to make the US team for the Winter Olympics, and he is going all out to achieve that goal.
The workrequired to succeed in amongst termendously strong opposition in the US, is considerable, with Michael training 6 days a week for 7 to 8 hours every day. Undertaking a mixture of weight training, running, cycling and of course skating, there are several videos of Michael training that pay testament to just how hard he works and how much he wants to succeed. His mental strength to go through this gruelling routine day after day, week after week, is just phenominal, and yet Michael is usually a man with a smile on his face. You can tell he loves his sport.
In a short space of time, Michael is showing great promise and he has won National Champion medals and reached the podium in other competitions. Michael regards his greatest success so far as winning gold in the US National Age Group Championships, but it is the Olympic place he is working so hard to achieve.
As a full time athlete, Michael relies on financial support through sponsorship and donations. Requiring $25,000 every 11 months to pay for equipment and access to training facilities, he has proven marketing skills and gives his supporters plenty of material to reward their support. As an American Sign Language user since the age of three, Michael conducts interviews using ASL and is proud to do so. His deafness does play a part in his training and competing, but this is not a man that will put that forward as an excuse if he does not achieve his goals.
If you would like to follow Michael's progress or would like to support his endeavours with a financial contribution, you can do so by going to www.michaelwhubbs.com or straight to his donation page at http://igg.me/at/MikeWHubbs
Michael is currently ranked 3rd in America for his age grade and is in the top 10 of the American Cup Ranks, and after only three years, this is quite an achievement. Continual improvements in his personal best times, show that he is still improving.
In addition to his skating ambitions, Michael hopes to travel when his speed skating career is over, spreading hope and giving a positive message to youngsters who are deaf or have other disabilities about what they can achieve. He has not ruled out taking up coaching himself.
Whilst being Deaf does cause some difficulty, he also believes that it is also a benefit, "being Deaf helps me to focus more, think more, and have a better understanding of life," he explained. Things don't always go to plan though, and Michael sheepishly told me about a time when he tripped at the start of a race, and lay there face down, looking as though he was trying to see fish underneath the ice!
A true advocate for the sport, Michael poetically describes the feeling he gets when speed skating, "it feels like I'm skating in heaven."
Recognising that Michael is keen to be a positive role model and influence young people's lives, I asked him for three messages he would give to young deaf kids. "No excuses, find your passion and don't waste it," he said firmly, "You have only one life, one chance, your choice."
Article by Sarah Lawrence
posted in Deaf Sport / Deaf Sports Stars
21st October 2013