How a Laureus Award winner of the past went on to achieve further inspiring success...

The voting has offiically closed and the nominations for the 2012 Laureus World Sports Awards are finally in.
But before everyone can find out the names of those in the running at next year's ceremony in London, the Laureus blog is taking a look back at past winners and seeing what they have gone on to achieve in the following years.
And the first in this series looks back to an inspirational sportsman who, since winning his Award,  has been forced to battle through incredible adversity for the second time in his life only to emerge with great sporting success.
This sportsman was the Australian skiier Michael Milton, and his Award all the way back in 2003 was to be named the Laureus World Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability.
The Award for Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability is often one of the most inspiring of them all, and it really was no exception when Michael received the Award in Monaco, 2003.
Michael was being recognised for his winning four Olympic Gold medals at the Salt Lake City Winter Games in 2002, and, in doing so, becoming the first athlete in his amputee class to win all eligible alpine skiing events.
His achievements were particularly remarkable considering the hardships he endured as a child.
Michael was only nine when he was diagnosed with cancer.
The only chance of saving his life was to amputate a leg. This was particularly devastating for the young boy having come from a family passionate about sport; inparticular, skiing.
Showing his incredible passion and strength, he was walking on an artificial leg just nine days after the amputation.
Within three months he was out on skis once again.
Collecting his Award from Laureus Academy Member Dan Marino, he said: "Who would have thought, a snow skier from Australia? Sport is about emotion, and I guess this year I could - well, for me I thought Salt Lake. Performing like I did in Salt Lake would be the Everest in terms of the highs of emotion, especially through a lifetime when perhaps there's been some lows. But I think tonight, for me, is the Everest. Thank you."
However, as mentioned earlier, Michael was to face further hardship during his sporting career.
In 2007 he was just starting to prepare for a radically new sporting career. Having accomplished so much as a skiier, he was now readying himself for the 2008 Beijing Paralympics to take part for Australia as a cyclist.
In July 2007, however, he was once again diagnosed with cancer, and it would seem his summer Paralympic hopes would be crushed.
He had to undergo surgery to remove a tumour from his Oesophagus and subject his body to the hardships of chemotherapy.
By this point, the Beijing Games were just 12 months away.
Incredibly, Michael recovered in time and was selected by the Australian Paralympic team to compete in three cycling events: the 1km Time Trial, the 300m Individual Pursuit on the track and the 60.5km Road Race.
there is no question that Michael was a worthy winner in 2003, but his achievements since then truly show how great a sportsperson he remains today and also how inspirational the power of sport can really be.

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