At the age of 14, Schlappi was student body president, had been awarded his Eagle Scout and had expectations of a career in sports as a top American athlete when he was involved in a tragic shooting accident. Doctors told him he would never walk again, but after months of rigorous therapy, he began playing basketball from his wheelchair and went on to become an athletic standout.
Schlappi is a four-time Olympic Medalist and two-time World Champion in Wheelchair Basketball. The first wheelchair basketball player in the United States to be on four consecutive summer Olympic teams, Schlappi was honored by the state of Utah in 2000 as one of its Top 50 athletes of the past century. He served on the board of trustees that managed the 2002 Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake. He is the founder and director of the Wheelchair Sports Foundation, a non-profit organization that serves disabled athletes.
Hoping to inspire others through his experiences, Schlappi hung up his sneakers and transitioned from the sports arena to the speaking platform. His engaging presentations have entertained and inspired thousands of audiences worldwide. Schlappi’s thought-provoking story challenges individuals to succeed despite difficult circumstances by empowering themselves and accepting personal responsibility.
Off the basketball court, Schlappi graduated with a master’s degree in Business Administration and Healthcare from Arizona State University, and on a leadership scholarship, earned an undergraduate degree in Finance from Brigham Young University. Schlappi is also a writer and author of three popular inspirational books which draw heavily on his own experiences and the challenges he’s overcome: Shot Happens, Bulletproof Principles for Personal Success, and Motivational Leaders.
He has won numerous honors including the American Medical Association’s Special People Award, The Sporting Goods Manufacturer of America’s Heroes Award and the Golden Key Athlete of the Year Award.
Mike and his wife, Tami, reside in Draper, Utah and are the stressed parents of five kids!
"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.”
“Mike’s life is a great accomplishment in an All-American way… He is an inspiration to people everywhere who want to succeed.”
“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.”
“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.”