Paralympian, Olympian, skier, cyclist, trekker and triathlete
Michael Milton is one of Australia's greatest Paralympians and the most successful winter athlete Australia has ever produced. In a country that excels in summer sports, Michael has shown what sheer determination, and sometimes just plain pig-headedness, can produce.
"Will I be able to ski?" was the only question nine-year-old Michael Milton cared about when the doctors told him he would lose his leg to bone cancer. Michael grew up in a skiing family and was on the snow from age three.
In 1992 at age 19, Michael became the first Australian to win a gold medal in a Winter Games - Paralympic or Olympic. In 2002, he made Paralympic history at the Salt Lake games when he became the first person to win all four alpine skiing gold medals in his class. In 2004, his four medals at the World Championships took his career tally to 21, 12 of them gold.
Many thought Michael had achieved all he could on snow but in April 2003, Michael became the world's fastest skier on one leg, clocking over 193 km/hr straight downhill. In 2005, he set a new world speed skiing record, clocking 210.40 km/hr and smashing his old record by more than 10 km. In 2007 he became the first person with a disability to ski at over 200 km/hr.
Michael has receiving a number of awards and honours at home and internationally, including: an Order of Australia Medal (1992), Australian Paralympian of the Year (2002), Skiing Australia Skier of the Year (1993-94) and Sydney's Greatest Ever Athlete with a Disability (2003). His other accolades include being elected as one of three winter athletes to the International Paralympic Committee Athlete Commission, the beingn chosen as Vice Chairperson; being named as one of the 21 best athletes in the history of the AIS in 2002 and being selected as one of Australia's 50 Most Beautiful Exports (2003). In 2004 he was the recipient of the Dawn Fraser Award (Australian Sports Awards).
In 2002, Michael was awarded the Laureus World Athlete of the Year with a Disability. Known as the Oscars of sport, the award puts Michael on the same pedestal as Cathy Freeman, who was named sportswoman of the year (2001) and Steve Waugh's Test cricketers who won team of the year in 2002.
In 2007 Michael Milton became ACT Australian of the Year.
He's twice walked the Kokoda Track and has hiked to the summit of Mt Kilimanjaro at 5895 m. Yet Michael cites his biggest challenge so far as beating cancer a second time and getting back in shape to be selected for the 2008 Beijing Paralympic Games Cycling Team where he achieved two top ten placings on the track.
Since then he's taken on triathlon and gained top ten placings in the last two World Championships. In 2013 he completed his first ever marathon. Running the 42km course on crutches, he smashed the Guinness World Record by almost 80 minutes, crossing the finish line after 5 hours, 23 minutes and 30 seconds. He now holds two world records.
Michael is a talented and much sought-after speaker. Over the years he has made many presentations to corporate groups of varying sizes and is well used to adapting his speech to suit themed events. His supporting audio-visual material is of a high quality and offers effective insight into the challenges of his sport. For a bloke with one leg, Michael has a very balanced view of life. "It's just a leg. It doesn't change how happy you can be. It doesn't change the joy you can get from life. It might change how you do things; you might walk with crutches instead of a pair of shoes, but other than that it really is just a leg.'
Your speech, highlighting some of the positive things about having a disability, and the incredible problem solving skills disability requires a person to develop certainly bought home this aspect of the day for me. The feedback from my colleagues has been very positive; the thought of skiing down an almost vertical slope certainly made an impression!
Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet
Many, many thanks for your inspiring conclusion to CHIK's Health-e-Nation conference on the Gold Coast. You well and truly delivered on the brief and we've received great feedback on your session. You have a remarkable ability to bring an audience with you on your journey through life.
Michael is someone you can listen to time and time again. The way he manages and deals with what life throws at him is an inspiration to all and shows that we often sweat the small stuff without really remembering what it is that's most important in our lives. Thanks for such a great presentation Michael - you helped to make our conference the success it was.
How great it was to meet Michael and what an inspiration he is. I'm sure Michael has the same effect on most people but I found myself awe inspired and speechless hearing his story and his achievements. I have no doubt after meeting and hearing him speak that there will be a great deal more stories.
Ramsay Health Care
I found Michael Milton's talk very inspiring and amazing, the room was totally quiet while he spoke, he held everyone's attention.
Toyota Dealer Conference
This is the first time we have had a guest speaker as part of our team day, and your presentation to us was inspirational and very well received by all participants. The demonstration of your accomplishments and adversities provided a new perspective on our own lives.