Team Canada Athlete of the Month - Mikael Bartholdy
Date of birth: February 24, 1982
Height: 175 cm
Weight: 85 kg
Team: Canadian national sitting team
Thirty-year-old Mikael Bartholdy was hoping he would be preparing for the Paralympics this summer but Canada just fell short in its bid to qualify for the Games last year. Still, Canada’s sitting volleyball veteran is enjoying being part of the squad’s rebuilding program which is vying for a spot at the 2016 Paralympics.
‘’A lot of new guys have come to try out for the team and it has really injected a lot of new blood into the program,’’ said Bartholdy, who leads the Canadian team in international matches at 49 with Eric Dechaine, Douglas Learoyd and Jose Rebelo. ‘’It’s obvious the efforts we have made to showcase the sport across Canada has really paid off.’’
One of those showcases was at the Canadian Open this past May in Toronto where 11 new players shoed their talents to the national coaching staff.
In addition, Bartholdy has made presentations at schools through the Canadian Paralympic Committee program. ‘’The volleyball community has been really good about talking about the program. All the little things help.’’
Bartholdy joined Canada’s standing volleyball team at age 18. He helped Canada to the standing volleyball silver medal at the 2000 Paralympics in Sydney as well as three world titles and a World Cup crown.
When the standing program was switched for the sitting –which is now the Paralympic event – in 2006 Bartholdy and his other teammates gladly followed suit. While there have been growing pains for Canada in adapting to the sitting program, the improvements have been clearly noticeable including bronze medals at the last two ParaPan American Games.
Along with his sitting volleyball career, Bartholdy is a third year nursing student at Mount Royal College in Calgary. He hopes to work in a children’s hospital and help kids with a disability. Bartholdy was born with a bone disease in his lower left leg and it was amputated below the knee as an infant.
‘’I hope I’ll have an opportunity to show the kids what I’ve been able to accomplish, he said. ‘’I want to motivate them and tell them what a big difference they can make and they can accomplish their goals.’’