NEVER GIVE UP: JOZEF METELKA’S NEW LIFE
My name is Jozef Metelka and I am a Paralympic athlete in road and track cycling. Yes, unfortunately I lost my left leg a couple of years ago in a motorcycle accident, but this doesn’t stop me from making my dreams come true. On the contrary, what happened to me made me even stronger in life and allowed me to achieve my goals.
I am 32 years old and was born in Piešťany, a small town in Slovakia. As a kid I was always outdoors, I liked doing sports and running around with my friends. Since I was a kid I’ve loved mountaineering, playing tennis, skiing and cycling. Any sport in general; it was my life.
I attended one of Slovakia’s best grammatical secondary schools, Gymnázium Pierre de Coubertin Piešťany, managing to graduate without sacrificing the sports I loved so much. When I finished my studies I moved to England to start a new chapter in my life. Ever since I was a little kid my dream was to become the best tennis coach in the world; there was no better place to take on this challenge: Wimbledon. I took a gap year and I started studying to become a coach; then I even established my own teaching school. After the gap year I enrolled at Oxford to begin my university studies. The first year was exciting; I managed to balance my scholastic endeavours with my work as a coach. But life is full of surprises and everything can change in an instant.
I got hit by a car while I was riding my motorcycle, and since that day my life has never been the same.
The pain in my leg was excruciating but at first I thought it was just a really bad break. And instead, in spite of many operations and efforts to save it, one day the doctors informed me that the only option was to amputate. It was a shock, I couldn’t believe it. But then I thought that this could not be the end of my adventurous life, and as soon as I could I went back to the gym, I started walking again, riding bicycles and getting back into shape. The next winter season I returned to the mountains to go skiing, just with one minor difference; I had a ski boot on one foot, while on the other foot I had a carbon fibre prosthetic.
Two years after the accident I was admitted into the Slovakian Paralympic skiing association and I competed in the most important races all around Europe. However, my MTB was sitting patiently in my garage, waiting for me. I started riding MTB and road cycling. And new dreams entered my consciousness: I wanted to become the World Champion and be the first Paralympic athlete to make it to the podium in international cycling races with other, non-disabled riders.
The final goal is to show the world that anything is possible for a human being that is willing to push themselves beyond their limits. Life is a journey; a journey in which you come across different experiences. For example, the career of a professional athlete is limited to a brief part of their life, but once it’s over you need to push yourself further and pass on everything you have learned to young kids who are excited about getting into the world of sports.
Fortunately, I am still young enough and I still have a lot of challenges I want to achieve as an athlete. Up until now I can say that I have fulfilled some of my dreams. At the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro I managed to win two gold medals: one in the individual track chase and the second in the road time trial.
Now the goal is to aim for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and I am training hard for this. However, first I have to qualify for the next European Championships and the World Championships in 2019.
For a few months now I have been able to count on Selle San Marco products, which I liked right away. I had the opportunity to test the Mantra Racing model and I was pleasantly surprised with the comfort this saddle provides.
They say that the only thing that a person can really leave to posterity is an inheritance. As far as I’m concerned, I hope to be able to contribute to bridging the gap between sports and Para sport, to prove that there can be no limits in our lives if we have clearly defined goals in front of us.
Guys, keep following me on my social media and on Selle San Marco’s, too. 🙂
Warm greetings to everyone,