Mike Schultz is a Paralympian who has a lot more to show for himself than just the medals he's won.
Schultz’s leg was amputated after a snowmobile accident in 2008. He went on to win a gold medal in snowboardcross and a silver medal in banked slalom at the 2018 Paralympic Winter Games. He did that after designing his own prosthetic leg, electing to take action after he went on a snowmobile without a prostheses for the first time following his accident.
“I realized, you know what? It’s not about how fast I’m going,” he said Monday on the 3rd hour of TODAY. “It’s about the challenge of learning how to go faster, and so that was kind of the motivation and in order for me to continue that, I had to create my own prosthetic leg to get me back into action.”Schultz, who has detailed his journey in his new book, “Driven to Ride,” said he has a feel for how to build things.
“I’m a garage guy,” he said. “I had no technical schooling other than high school, but I’ve got a problem-solving mind and I love to create and build things with my hands, and this was the best project that I could work on to help keep me looking forward in a positive direction.
"Yeah, I built my leg three months after becoming an amputee and then seven months out compete at the Summer X Games adaptive supercross on a leg I built in my shop.”
Schultz, who recently won a silver medal in the men’s dual banked slalom at the World Para Snow Sports Championships in Norway, has started a company, BioDapt, Inc., which designs and distributes prosthetics. He said he has even created some for athletes who compete against him.
“That’s one of the most rewarding things that’s happened with me becoming an amputee, is I started my company, BioDapt, in 2010, just a couple of years after I’d gotten injured. And then fast forward to the Paralympic Games in ’18 and also coming up here in just over a month, I show up at the starting line, there’s, like, 15 to 20 other athletes from around the world that are wearing equipment that I built in my shop,” he said.
Schultz, 40, is scheduled to compete at the upcoming Winter Paralympics in Beijing. After serving as flag bearer in the opening ceremony and winning two medals at the 2018 Winter Paralympics in Pyeongchang, he originally planned on not competing, but changed his mind.
“It couldn’t go any better, but a couple months went by and I realized, ‘You know what? I’m not done competing. I'm still enjoying it. I’m still competitive.’ Yeah, so why stop? I might as well try it again,” he said.