When motivational speaker Mike Schlappi takes the floor, a dazzling smile greets you. Then you notice the wheelchair. If ever a man was defined by what he can do instead of what he cannot do, it's Gold Medalist and Author Mike Schlappi. At the age of 14, Mike was an outstanding athlete when a gunshot to the chest at point-blank range challenged his dreams. He would never walk again. After months of rigorous physical therapy, he began playing basketball from his wheelchair and went on to become a standout athlete.
Mike Schlappi's thought-provoking keynote presentation challenges individuals of all ages and walks of life, that you can take response-ability and be empowered despite difficult circumstances. His engaging presentations have entertained and inspired audiences worldwide. From the classroom to the board room, from small gatherings to large corporate events, Mike challenges "If You Can't Stand Up, Stand Out!"
We have provided the following 6-minute "demo video" to give you a feel for Mike's message and presentation style. We are happy to provide a full-length presentation to interested meeting planners upon request.
"Mike Schlappi's life teaches anyone who has ever thought that the mountain was too high, or the valley was too wide, that the will of the human heart can conquer all obstacles. Mike's story is a story of heart, commitment, and valiant perseverance. He is a role model to all and a real hero."
~Orrin Hatch – United States Senator
"Mike's life is a great accomplishment in an All-American way… He is an inspiration to people everywhere who want to succeed."
~Bill Clinton – Former President of the United States
"To offer a simple recommendation for Mike Schlappi is an understatement. Mike's genuine, honest and professional approach is head and shoulders above many of the speakers that I've heard. Motivational speakers can sometimes be one-dimensional in terms of their content and delivery.
Mike's 'shoot for the stars' message appeals to a multitude of issues that face an organization."
~Christopher S. Carlton, President
Dräger Medical, Inc.
"In my 20 years of coordinating meetings, I am hard-pressed to identify a speaker that I have worked with that is as cooperative and effective. Thanks for working with us to make the Descartes Global Sales Meeting successful. It was a compelling and heart-rendering performance that will be remembered for years to come."
Descartes Systems Group
"I think we've all heard motivational speakers before, but your message was so personal that we could all feel the power you generated. It's easy to see why you received a standing ovation and such enthusiastic applause at the conclusion of your message. It all had to do with your unconquerable spirit and attitude. Your challenges left all of us with a desire to do more."
~Ray Rivers, Vice President
"Your keynote speech was extremely well received. In fact, on a majority of my overall conference evaluations, you were listed as 'the best part of the conference.' That, coupled with the standing ovation my clients gave you, speaks volumes about how well the program went. Thank YOU!"
~Lori K. Bennett, Director of Marketing Communications
"By sharing the challenges that he had faced head-on in his life, Mike did a masterful job of instilling within each employee a determination to over-come business obstacles that pale in significance to those faced and conquered by Mike."
~Alan Rudd, President & CEO
VINCA, the data protection company
My Gold Medal Journey started the first time I played wheelchair basketball just a few short months after my injury. I was immediately "hooked" as I realized it was the same fun and competitive game that I had known on my feet. Shooting, dribbling, passing, height, speed, and teamwork were still important parts of the game. For me, the most difficult part was learning to push and maneuver the wheelchair. I immediately set my sights on purchasing a new sports wheelchair so that I could maximize my potential and compete at the highest levels.
The highest level of competition in wheelchair basketball is the Paralympics. I set my sights on making the 1988 team that would represent the United States in Seoul, South Korea. Fortunately, my peers recognized my skills, and I was invited to try out against the top 60 players from around the country. I made the final cut, and my official Journey began. My teammates and I would meet several times each year at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs as we prepared for the competition.
I will always remember rolling into each opening ceremony as 100,000 fans waved, cheered, and welcomed us to their country. I will cherish the memories of 1988 and 1992 as the USA beat Holland and was awarded the Gold Medals as our National Anthem played. As a competitor, there is no greater feeling than knowing that you've outdone the greatest competition the world can offer. And even more, knowing that my wife, children, parents, and siblings could share the moment.
Although initially disappointed at winning the Bronze in 1996 in Atlanta and 2000 in Sydney, each Paralympic experience has brought new insight and meaning as I have gained an appreciation for the athletic abilities of all athletes with disabilities. At each Paralympics, I have had the privilege of watching some amazing accomplishments.
I remember watching the blind play soccer as they followed the beeping ball. I remember watching a dwarf bench press nearly 300 pounds. I remember watching an amputee run the 100 meters in 11 seconds and a blind long jumper soar over 20 feet. All individuals with disabilities have been blessed by the paralympic movement and the awareness that has been created. An equal thanks goes to all companies and individuals who have invented and manufactured equipment that has allowed the athletes to showcase their talents.
Whether Gold or Bronze, I have learned to enjoy the journey as much as the destination.