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Deaf speedskater has Olympic dreams

KEARNS, Utah (ABC 4 Sports) - Michael Hubbs was born deaf, and after a 10-year hiatus from the sport, is trying to make the Olympic speedskating team.
KEARNS, Utah (ABC 4 Sports) - Michael Hubbs was born deaf. He has 80 percent hearing loss. But Hubbs has Olympic-sized speedskating dreams and he says nothing will slow him down.

"You should never let anyone take away your dreams," said Hubbs. "If you have a dream, you should go for it. You need to understand you have to keep fighting and fighting for your dream. It's never easy."

It wasn't easy for Hubbs. He started speedskating when he was 12, but when he turned 17, his father made him quit the sport to attend a school for the deaf. Michael fell into the wrong crowd, and ended up getting into trouble with drugs and the law.

"I was leading a troubled life," he said. "But at 20 or 21, I realized that it's not worth it and I changed my life."

At the age of 27, after a 10-year hiatus from the sport, Michael decided to get back into it. A friend of his who made the Olympic team inspired Michael to lace up his skates again.

"I said, 'if he can do it, so can I.'"

So Hubbs, who was then living in Georgia, sold everything he had. He sold his car, his television, his bed, his couch and bought a one-way ticket to Salt Lake City to train full-time.

"That shows how much I really wanted it," Hubbs said. "My favorite word is 'focus.' Don't waste your time. I decided to come back. I wanted to finish my dream."

Hubbs, who now lives in Milwaukee, is competing in U.S. Speedskating events. He set four personal best times at a competition this past weekend at the Olympic Oval in Kearns.

At 30, he realizes that he is considered a long shot to make the 2014 Olympic team. But just trying is inspiring deaf kids all over the country. Hubbs speaks at schools and hopes to encourage hearing impaired children to reach for their dreams just like him.

"Right now, I'm not worrying about making the Olympic team," he said. "My focus is on one step at a time. If you don't make the team, you can be very disappointed. So you have to appreciate going one step at a time."

And if he does make it and becomes the first deaf Olympic speedskater?

"That would mean a lot to me and the deaf community," he said. "I would be thinking, wow, all my hard work paid off. It would touch my heart."


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