Deaf Speed Skater Olympics Dream
Michael Hubbs, Deaf and 28, is a Short Track Speed Skater and he wants to inspire Deaf community and the Deaf world to realize their DREAM.
In 1982, I was born Deaf. My parent didn't find out until I was about 3 years old. My mother, Japanese and hearing, left me at 3. My dad left me with my grandmother, father's side, because she was able to support me financially. My grandmother was willing to learn sign language for me so she could communicate with me. My father was really poor and quit US Army. My father became homeless and couldn't afford to take care of me. I was raised in a mainstream from elementary school until freshman high school. By the time I became about 10, I went to a skate rink in Mesquite, TX. I rented with a regular rollerblades until the announcer called "Fast Skating Time." I saw 2 guys with a real nice speed skates going really fast passed me and I stopped, got out of the rink to watch those two boys speed skating. I fell in love with it. I asked one guy, Shawn, how much it cost and he mentioned that it costs around $1,000. I was shocked but I asked my dad if he could buy one for me because I wanted to become a speed skater but my dad couldn't afford it.
I've had people making fun of my deafness and they kept calling me names behind my back when they knew I couldn't hear them. They kept signing ugly pretending they knew sign language and made fun of me. They kept making fun of me that I couldn't speed skate. So, my dad asked the church members to buy me one and I got one. Honestly, it was lousy and cheap, but I was willing to do whatever it took to improve my strength, endurance, and techniques on speed skating. Finally, my dad was willing to save some money to buy me a better one, the ones that cost around $1,000. He got me one when I was about 14 or 15. I got serious and committed to trainings and joined Laser Speed Team in Mesquite, TX. I quit that team then transferred to Dallas/Fort Worth Inline Racing Team. Started travelling only few times in my life and won some medals. I went travelling with Jordan Malone, 2010 Olympic Medallist, to Bossier City, LA. I won silver and bronze medals at the National Indoor Racing Association, NIRA, in 1999.
In 1998, I was working on getting sponsors and got one sponsor from the hearing aid company to pay for my hotel, food, and travel expenses. Somehow, all of a sudden, my dad forced me to go to Texas School for the Deaf, TSD, and I lost my sponsor and my speed skating career because it was about 4 hours away from home. My dad was not willing to learn sign language to communicate with me and wasn't willing to do whatever it takes to take care of me. I told my dad, I want to make the USA National Team, World Team and make the USA Olympic Team. I told him, deep in my heart, I know I WILL make it. My dad ignored me and kicked me out to go to TSD. I had no transportation to go to training center with a new team in Austin, TX. I was stuck at TSD and end up being depressed that I lost my Olympic dream. Tons of TSD students were knew that I was very good in speed skating and they did a test. One student is very good at riding a bicycle, Chad, they asked him to compete with me in my speed skates. Students said "Ready, set, go!!!!" Competed for only one mile. Once I passed the finish line, he was a half mile behind me. That is how much I wanted to make the World Team, USA National Team and looking forward to make the 2014 Winter Olympics USA Team.
In 2010, Winter Olympics was coming up soon in February in Vancouver, Canada. I saw Jordan Malone, we used to compete together, making the US Olympic Team with Apolo Anton Ohno. I was totally shocked, anything is POSSIBLE!! I contacted Jordan Malone and we had a good chat. He asked me "Do you still speed skate?" I told him, no because I was busy concentrating with job searching and just graduated from Gallaudet University. After we finished talking, I kept thinking...."Should I finish what I didn't finish since I was young?" And I looked at Jordan Malone, he made it, so that means I can make it. Then I made my serious decision to finish what I didn't finish back in 2000.
In March 2010, I started doing some research on which team I should join and decided to join Precision Inline Racing Team with Jim Blair in Lawerenceville, GA. I had to work and pay everything on my own. I would need some financial support and some sponsors. My family are very poor and they can't afford to support my speed skating dream. I have decided to not give up and looking forward to make the USA National Team. After hard training for two months until May 2010, I have tested my personal best time and I realize that I have been cutting down a lot of time in the 100 meters and 500 meters compared to when I was young. I have defeated my personal best time back in 2000.
I look forward to switch from inline (rollers) to ice and make the USA National Ice Short Track Speed Skating Team. I will never ever let my Deafness prevent me from my success in the speed skating world. I NEED to show and inspire the Deaf community in the whole world that Deafness nothing to do with their abilities in any sports. And inspire them that Deaf is not considered HANDICAP.
2010- NIRA: National Short Track Speed Skating Championship
3,000 meters relay- Silver
2010-Southern Regional Championship
500 meters- Bronze
1000 meters- Bronze
2010-USA National Speed Skating Championship
500 meters- Didn't make it to final (My competitor pushed me out of the rink)
1000 meters- 4th Place (Almost Bronze)
Ranked 4th Overall in the US
2001- USA Junior Olympic Regional Championship
1999- USA National Speed Skating Championship
500 meters- Bronze
1000 meters- Silver
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