The Story of Gold Medalist Sam Grewe
UPDATE: Watch Sam at the Rio 2016 Games! Full schedule here.
Want to jump right into the audio interview? Check it out here:
Let me ask a simple question:
What’s the one thing that separates the success stories from the rest?
Tony Robbins grew up in a broken home with a drug-addicted mother.
Lewis Howes: a former professional football player, and now successful entrepreneur earned his buck as a truck driver during his 20s, when he could barely afford his rent of ~$150/mo.
The list goes on.
The threading that ties these two together, and so many others?
You got it, that’s the uncanny ability to turn obstacles into motivation.
Motivation: The Human Launch Pad
Motivation is the core of all our human successes. If we can master sourcing and applying motivation, we can do anything we please.
We all crave motivation and long to find it.
- Some depend on their friends, others wait for good weather. While others bank their workouts for the legendary cheat meal.
- Some of us like to dig deep, and find that internal drive.
Regardless where we derive our motivation - we all have the ability to master it. But, there are a select few who turn can turn seemingly impossible obstacles into motivation.
Our friend Sam Grewe is one of the Few.
Before we dive in - There’s a big misconception floating around that should be addressed. Our culture has come to suggest that only the “great” and the “gifted” can transform obstacles and into motivation. The reality is - anyone can. Sam helps show us how.
The Story of Sam Grewe
Sam Grewe is a 17-year-old athlete. He’s gained some of the most esteemed international sports recognitions and won trophies reserved for the elite. And he’s on his way to the Rio Games in September, where he’ll compete in the high jump.
One would never guess that Sam only began competing a year ago. Especially, after he took the world by storm, winning Gold Medal in High Jump at the World Championships last year in Doha, Qatar.
Sam Grewe not only found his motivation, but overcame towering obstacles.
And in turn, created success far beyond anyone’s expectations (and likely his own, too).
But Sam is different. Sam Grewe has only one leg.
That’s where our story begins.
Sam’s incredible journey begins in 7th grade. He was undoubtedly an athletically-gifted kid.
Months of chemotherapy followed. Soon thereafter, the doctors presented Sam with a tough decision: what to do with his leg? Again - at age 13.
A Vision and a Dream
Even at a young age, his wisdom was far beyond his years. Sam decided to amputate his leg through rotationplasty surgery.
Opposing many doctors expectations and recommendations, Sam flourished post-surgery. He surpassed what anyone had thought possible, and was soon competing in football, basketball and lacrosse, until he found his stride in track and field.
From there, Sam went on to be a Paralympian gold medal winner. Just 3 years after losing his leg to cancer.
We at Vea Fitness had the pleasure of talking with Sam. We are so thrilled and honored to be able to learn and support his journey.
We’ll pick up the story where Sam decided the give up his leg.
Vea: Can you talk about what you went through, psychologically - and how you came to the decision [to remove your leg]?
Sam: For months the obvious decision was the limb salvage.
(Sidebar: Limb Salvage is a process involving the reconstruction of the leg that restores its visual appearance, but would prevent Sam from continuing in his athletic journey).
It would keep my leg. It wouldn’t look funky. It [was] the reasonable option. And that just didn’t really sit well with me because sports was my life.
One night at dinner I was thinking: “years down the line I don’t want to be the dad that can’t take his son or daughter on a bike ride, or go play football with them…”
I want to be the guy that can go out, live life and enjoy himself.
So I think that was really the decision maker. I can handle [removing my natural leg and gaining] a prosthetic leg if that means that I can return to the lifestyle I wanted to live. It was an easy decision after that.
Vea: What would you attribute your greatest successes to?
Sam: What really drove me was proving people wrong. The doctors saying that I couldn’t run again - that I couldn’t return to the level I was.
I do high school track and field also. The people I jump against they see me and say “Oh it’s so great you’re doing this.” They think it is going to be an easy win… It’s beating them.
[That’s what’s] driving me. I want to prove that I have one leg but I am still very competitive. I’m still that person that I was and then some - showing them you can’t just judge me by looking at me.
Vea: Where do you think your core motivation comes from? And how can you share that with other people?
Sam: I’d say my core motivation was never letting my fear decide my fate…
You know, I could’ve given up at that moment, I could’ve sulked. I could’ve delved into depression, but instead I chose to get up… To take those steps, because I knew those steps would lead to running, the running would be to jumping.
I knew that with the right mindset and right resources, anything is possible.
Sam found his motivation and so can you.
Whether it’s your friends pushing you to get out there or your internal desire to better yourself - each person has it in them. It could even be for an award, or reward.
How you find your motivation is not what matters.
What matters is you that find it, and take small steps to begin - building healthy habits, and routines that help reach your goals. And then strides, as you gain momentum.
“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.” - Arthur Ashe
Let’s get out there and let’s DO IT!
Keep up with Sam and all his awesomeness:
Find your motivation with Vea Fitness! Available on the App Store now!