084 – Nick Mayhugh – Paralympian 4x Medalist in Tokyo 2020

Episode 84 - Nick Mayhugh

This week’s guest is Nick Mayhugh, a former professional soccer player and Paralympic sprinter. 

Not only was he named U.S. Soccer Player of the Year with a Disability in 2019, he also accomplished the unthinkable and won 3 gold medals and 1 silver medal as a Paralympic sprinter in the 2020 Tokyo summer games.

In this episode, we’ll discuss how he was able to shift his career so radically and still kept performing on a level that’s only accessible to the best of the best.

Time Stamped Show Notes

[01:34] Welcome to the show Nick Mayhugh

  • 01:57 Nick explains his journey as an athlete.
  • 02:38 Nick was 14 years old when he was diagnosed with cerebral palsy.

[03:35] In 2019 Nick was awarded the soccer player of the year award

  • 04:00 How Nick became a track athlete and what led him to compete successfully in the Tokyo summer games 2020 just two years into this sport.
  • 05:57 Cerebral palsy is a neurological disorder that can be caused by a stroke in utero or in the first two years after birth.

[07:57] The training shifted the impact that the disability has over Nick’s body.

  • 08:30 Because of the late diagnosis at 14 years of age and his stubbornness and eagerness he never saw himself as an disabled athlete, which helped him a lot in becoming so successful.
  • 09:35 How he resisted the disability in his early 20’s and what led him to think otherwise.
  • 11:30 For Nick it was a breath of fresh air to get the diagnosis because it connected all the dots for him.
  • 11:40 The doctor told Nick that he will never play soccer again, which broke his heart. 

[14:14] The thought process behind Nick’s shift from soccer to sprinting.

  • 17:48 Nick working with his sprinting coach was very similar to his soccer training as he had the opportunity to work with very elite level soccer coaches.
  • 19:39 Usually people are either drawn to team sports or to solo sports. How was the transition for Nick going from soccer to being a sprinter?
  • 21:11 Although the first race in the Paralympic summer games was the hardest one for Nick, his favorite one was the last race where all the emotions from the last 2 years culminated.
  • 24:45 Nick explains what he was doing for his mindset, how he worked on it and how important it is for the sprinting sport.

Key Learning Points…

  1. It’s okay to not be okay and to have bad days, weeks or even months and the sooner one can open up and talk to others about what’s going on the better.
  2. Lean on the people closest to you and let them know what is going on inside you.
  3. Stubbornness and having trust in oneself are big parts of becoming successful.




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