SCHLADMING/RAMSAU, March 19, 2017 - Every day we have the possibility to give up. We can also find excuses, be apathetic and do things without passion.
That’s not the way Mihail Yakimov lives.
He is one of the two Bulgarian athletes, out of eight, chosen not by a draw. He is in the Special Olympics because of his own skills in skiing.
Mihail patiently waited a long time to get his chance and his hard work finally paid off. On Sunday he gave Bulgaria and the whole Special Olympics movement the best possible ‘thank you’ for trusting in him with a silver medal from the Super Giant slalom in Schladming.
Who is Mihail?
Destiny sent him to an orphanage for those with intellectual disabilities in his hometown Bansko over 20 years ago. But that didn’t stop him. Soon Mihail found his passion – sports. At first – at eight years old, he started playing football. Then - in 2008, he became fascinated by skiing and a year later discovered his love for taekwondo. Since then, Mihail can’t imagine his life without any of these sports.
He is one of those people who always want to progress. To be better in sports, to be better in life.
“My race was pretty decent. I made a few mistakes,” said Mihail after the race that brought him a silver medal at the Special Olympics.
He even promised that he will be better in the Giant slalom later on in the competition. Before his first participation at the Special Olympics Mihail promised his friends in Bansko that he would come back home with a medal.
It is not very often that you see that kind of perfectionism in athletes, in people.
“He is a great boy. Mihail is completely dedicated to skiing. He did a great job in the final. We are really proud of him,” said the Vice Head of the Bulgarian delegation Anton Hidzhov.
In Bansko Mihail works as a cleaner in a hotel. When asked how he has the energy every day to go to work and then to train. He simply replied:
“I never get tired. It’s up to you. You do it, or you don’t do it.”
And that’s the way it is. His destiny showed Mihail that the only way to be successful is to strive for perfection.
“He always tries to help the other athletes if they have problems,” said Anton Hidzhov.
“When you see how dedicated athletes like Mihail are, how they look at you and how they want to progress - that really motivates you. It’s a challenge for me,” added his coach Rosen Yavorov.
What is left to see is whether Mihail’s perfectionism will motivate the whole Bulgarian team at the Special Olympics? What is sure though is that he gives them something even more precious. A smile every day.
The Young Reporters Programme has been made possible thanks to the support of the European Union's Erasmus + programme