Mike Schultz showed it is never too late to join the party. Against talented athletes in their prime or even half his age, the 37-year-old became a two-time Paralympic medallist in his debut at PyeongChang 2018.
Schultz’s gold medal in the snowboard-cross SB-LL1 and silver in the banked slalom were the climax of his progress over the past two seasons.
Also known as “Monster Mike,” the US rider became a serious contender for Paralympic gold following the 2017 World Championships in Big White, Canada. He challenged Netherlands’ flying Dutchman Chris Vos in the banked slalom, coming up short of the gold. He also fell short of the snowboard-cross podium. But Schultz was only warming up.
He completed a successful World Cup 2017-18 season in which he took the overall crystal globe, and it set him up for success at PyeongChang 2018.
Now the only prize missing from his collection is a world title, which he can add in Pyha, Finland.
Schultz had his left leg amputated following a professional snocross race accident in 2008. He engineered his own prosthetic knee and got back into sports, winning a silver in motocross adaptive at the X Games. Schultz saw the need for advancements in prosthetics, leading him to find BioDapt, Inc. in July 2010. His products have been instrumental in the development of prosthetics for action sports athletes and wounded soldiers, and he has been working on an improvement to the Versa Foot, which was named one of the Top 10 Inventions of 2013 by Popular Science magazine.
Further personal information
Sport specific information
In 2016 he crashed while riding his dirt bike. He broke six ribs, tore cartilage in his thumb, and sustained a concussion. The injuries meant he was unable to compete in snowboarding at the 2017 Winter X Games in Aspen, CO, United States of America. (gq.com, 07 Mar 2022)
He shattered his right heel during his adaptive boardercross semifinal at the 2015 Winter X Games in Aspen, CO, United States of America. He underwent surgery and was unable to participate in high intensity activity for six months. (paralympic.org, 19 Oct 2015; denverpost.com, 23 Jan 2015)
He was flag bearer for the United States of America at the opening ceremony of the 2018 Paralympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang. (nbcolympics.com, 07 Mar 2018)
In 2010 he was inducted into the Athletes with Disabilities Network [ADN] Hall of Fame in the United States of America. He also received the organisation's Roger McCarville Male Athlete of the Year award. (oandp.com, 01 Nov 2010)
In 2010 he founded BioDapt, a company that produces high-impact sports prosthetics including the Moto Knee, which he has used himself, and the Versa Foot. His prostheses have been used by his competitors, including at the 2022 Paralympic Winter Games in Beijing. "When I realised there were not many options out there for sport prosthetics, I was like, 'You know what, I'm the perfect guy to solve this problem'. Now, we've got a few hundred athletes and veterans using our product, as well as the majority of the US Paralympic snowboarding team. I've got the athlete hat and the businessman hat. It's tricky, a fine line. My wife Sara and I were calculating the number of athletes [at the 2022 Paralympic Winter Games in Beijing] using our equipment. It's athletes in 11 countries. Me helping them with their performance equipment isn't, I always feel, the best thing, but I assure you I am so much more about the bigger picture - using what I've learned to improve our sport overall." (OIS, 03 Mar 2022; teamusa.org, 03 Dec 2021; Facebook page, 01 Feb 2022; Facebook profile, 11 Dec 2020; medgadget.com, 23 Jan 2020; LinkedIn profile, 01 Jan 2019; si.com, 30 Oct 2017)
He considered retiring following the 2018/19 season, but decided to continue after he won a gold medal at the 2019 World Championships in Pyha, Finland. "It was a few months after the [2018 Paralympic Winter] Games that I was like, 'I don't have a world championship under my belt yet, so maybe I'll stick around another season so I can do that'. Then I got a world championship in bank slalom, and I was like, 'Well, I'm already a year in, it's only three years to the [2022 Paralympic Winter] Games. I'm still getting better every time I'm on the snow. I'm improving and I'm learning things, so heck yeah, let's just keep going." (OIS, 02 Mar 2022)
He authored a book published in January 2022 called 'Driven to Ride: The True Story of an Elite Athlete Who Rebuilt His Leg, His Life, and His Career'. (amazon.com, 18 Jan 2022; foyles.co.uk, 01 Dec 2021)
He has served as a member of the borders commission of the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee [USOPC]. (teamusa.org, 18 Aug 2020)
|Men's Snowboard Cross SB-LL1||Race 1||2017-02-04||4|
|Men's Banked Slalom SB-LL1||Race 1||2017-02-07||2|
|Men's Snowboard Cross SB-LL1||Final||2018-03-12||1|
|Men's Banked Slalom SB-LL1||Final||2018-03-16||2|
|Men's Banked Slalom SB-LL1||Race 1||2019-03-27||1|
|Men's Snowboard Cross SB-LL1||Race 1||2019-03-30||3|
|Men's Banked Slalom SB-LL1||Race 2||2022-01-14||2|
|Men's Snowboard Cross SB-LL1||Race 2||2022-01-21||2|
|Men's Snowboard Cross SB-LL1||Quarterfinal 3||2022-03-06||1|
|Men's Snowboard Cross SB-LL1||Semifinal 2||2022-03-06||1|
|Men's Snowboard Cross SB-LL1||Big Final||2022-03-06||2|
|Men's Snowboard Cross SB-LL1||Qualification||2022-03-07||3|
|Men's Banked Slalom SB-LL1||Final||2022-03-12||5|