Tom Miazga has gone from U.S. Paralympian Medalist to WheelWOD Crossfit's Fittest Seated Man on Earth.
Miazga started going to Ozaukee Crossfit back in 2016 after his retirement from a long 7-year career as a team USA Paralympic Swimmer.
Miazga admits that growing up with Spastic Diplegia, a form of cerebral palsy, he didn't always feel like a winner.
"It was always hard trying to find the sports or activities that I felt like I could be fully engaged in. Be with my friends and feel like I'm not much different than anybody else," said Miazga.
In second grade he found swimming and everything clicked. But Miazga says in 2015 he wanted to hang up his competitive goggles and focus on teaching his Whitefish Bay sixth graders math. But his competitive spirit never died.
Ozaukee Crossfit evolved from something to do, into a competition. Tom found a Worldwide Crossfit Competition for athletes with disabilities and got to work. His coaches Joe Moro and Jason Olejnizak say they're impressed and inspired by his determination.
"Not an able-bodied person or a person in a wheelchair. I haven't worked with an athlete like Tom before," said Olejnizak. "He's a special case."
The WheelWOD competition started in March. Tom and a countless number of other athletes recorded themselves completing a set number of challenges and then post them online. After five weeks of competition, WheelWOD judges picked the top 20 athletes to repeat the entire process but increased the difficulty. Finally, in June the top 6 winners were announced and Miazga made it to the finals.
Miazga traveled to Toronto, Canada to compete in a rigorous outdoor competition of swimming, weight lifting, push ups and more. Olejniczak says he never left Miazga's side.
"I was out on the floor with him for every event. Moving chairs, anchoring his chair, different things, strategizing. Whatever we needed to do," said Olejniczak.
It definitely paid off. Miazga says he's using his new title as a platform to encourage those with disabilities to take on new challenges. Throughout his entire training experience, he says learning to adapt and conquer isn't easy, but it's the best way to move forward.