Adaptive snowboarder Mike Schultz could very well have the winning formula at the Paralympics — whether or not he even crosses the finish line in first.
He is the architect behind some of the most cutting edge prosthetic components out there, which is no surprise considering he's been tinkering with technology and testing it himself since losing his left leg above the knee a decade ago following a snowmobile accident.
There will be around 30 male and female athletes from six different countries at the Paralympic Games in South Korea using Schultz's "Moto Knee" (constructed to withstand high-impact stress), "Versa Foot" (featuring adjustable shock absorbers) or both.
He just might be beaten by his own creations. That's almost a win-win situation for the world's top-ranked snowboard-cross and banked slalom boarder.
"Me winning would be better," cracked the 36-year-old from St. Cloud, Minnesota, who was voted the flag bearer for Team USA during the opening ceremony Friday. "I've got some secret stuff. I'll share it with everybody at the end of March.
"I do take a lot of pride in knowing that I've helped these athletes step up their performance game a little bit — or a lot. It's very rewarding to see these athletes really bring their 'A' game and do the level of riding that they all do."
His life was altered in December 2008 during a snowmobile race in Michigan. He was making a move in a downhill section when he lost his balance and was thrown from his sled. His left knee hyperextended 180 degrees, with his lower leg ending up near his chest. The main nerve to his leg was severed. In an essay on The Player's Tribune , Schultz said he went through 42 units of blood, but the "reality was that the best way for me to go forward was to amputate at the mid-thigh."