About Me!

image-3img_1573img_0151-213584829_10210041860823248_4245899476782978187_o450m227160701021_olympic_team_trialsimg_1563image-4 img_5781Beyond The 2016 Summer Olympic Games

For the past 18 or so months it has all been about preparing myself not only to qualify for Rio, but to personally excel in Rio. This img_5940summer I became a 2x Olympian and improved upon my 2012 Olympic finish, placing 22nd in a competitive field of 74 athletes. I gained valuable experiences along the way that have made me stronger than 2012, and even stronger than my record breaking 2014 year. I am confident that my physical peak has yet to have occurred. So where does that leave me now?

As elite level athletes we often find ourselves thinking in 4 year blocks of time to correlate with each Olympic cycle. In 2012 I was convinced after the Games I would retire and focus on graduate school. I quickly learned retiring was not in the cards. I not only loved race walking, I needed race walking. I needed that physical-mental balance in my life. As much as my mind needs to be stimulated mentally, my body does physically. This time around I know better than to even suggest retirement. Instead I’m taking the “one day at a time” with short term goals approach to training and racing. I would love to be in the game for another Olympiad, but I also need to start financially pulling my weight and saving not just for my future, but my future family as well. Therefore, I have decided to continue race walking as long as possible at the elite level, treasuring every experience and knowing that one day push might come to shove and I will have to move on from training and competing at the elite level. In the meanwhile I am continuing to adjunct as a Biology/Microbiology professor while searching for a full-time position. After all, life is a journey, not a destination! Cheers to all the new adventures that await!

2016 Olympic Mission

Here we are again less than 6 months out to the next Olympic Games, the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio. The passion burns just as bright, perhaps even more intense. And so my journey continues, this time to become a 2x Olympian. I am stronger, faster, and wiser this time around. I have new goals and new aspirations. It’s not just about making it this time, it’s about how well I can place against my international competitors. To achieve this I have decided to take my training and recovery to another level. I can finally say that training as an elite athlete is my number one priority as I have just recently completed my graduate studies earning my Ph.D. in Biomedical Sciences from Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. I am eager to see how far I can go! Stay tuned because the best is yet to come!

Childhood Dream

It was the summer of 1996 the year I discovered the Olympic Games, and I was hooked to say the least. Those two weeks I watched more TV than I probably had the entire previous year. This is when the dream began…yes one day I wanted to make it to the Olympics. While soccer may have been my passion back then I found my athletic calling as a race walker in high school.

Since 1996 I’ve watched the 2000, 2004, and 2008 Olympics come and go. In 2004 I achieved the US Olympic Trials B Standard while still a senior in high school but competed at Junior World Championships that summer instead of the US Trials. By the next Olympic Trials in 2008 I had hit the A qualifying standard early on and despite injury competed in my first trials. It was a bitter sweet moment, the trials themselves were thrilling, the excitement in the air was palpable and it was an experience like no other. Meanwhile there was also a feeling of disappointment at the inability to compete to one’s fullest ability because I was injured. Although making the team in 2008 would have been a long shot even if I were healthy it was still frustrating. Nonetheless the dream lived on and the desire to make an Olympic Team grew even stronger.

The logo of the Trials was: Amazing Awaits! And that’s exactly how I came away from that race, amazing awaits, I had 4 years to turn an 8th place non-Olympic Standard performance into a first place victory complete with an Olympic Games Standard. Everyday brought me one step closer to achieving my dream. It’s what motivated me everyday to get up on frigid cold or sweltering hot mornings and get out there training, often alone, all in the pursuit of making the 2012 Olympic Team.  My motto has always been, Dream, Believe, Become. I’ve had the Dream since 1996, I truly began to Believe in myself in 2010, and in 2012 I finally earned the honor and BecAme an Olympian!

The Basics:

  • Birthday: June 23rd1986
  • Family: Daughter of Sue and Rich Michta, sister to Ricky, Kristie, and Katie
  • Relationship Status: July 3rd, 2014 married my high school sweetheart Joe Coffey
  • Hometown: Nesconset, New York
  • Current Location: Farmingville, NY

Education:

  • High School: Sachem Class of 2004 (When we were one Huge school)
  • College: LIU CW Post, Class of 2008, Valedictorian, 4.0 GPA
    • B.S. Biology, Chemistry Minor
  • Graduate School: Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai NY
    • Ph.D. Biomedical Sciences, under Dr. Matthew Evans
    • Thesis Studies: Defining the role Occludin in HCV entry
    • Thesis Studies Simply: Understanding why the virus (HCV) needs a special protein (Occludin) to infect cells.

Athletics:

Fun Facts:

  • My birthday is the anniversary of Title IX and is also officially recognized as “Olympic Day
  • I have never attended my own graduation (missed high school graduation for Junior Nationals in 2004, missed college graduation for World Cup in 2008, missed Graduate School Graduation Ceremony for Pan Am Cup in 2015)
  • I have raced on 4 continents and in 15 countries:
    • North America-USA, Canada, Mexico, El Salvador, Dominican Republic
    • South America- Peru, Brazil, Chile
    • Europe-Germany, Italy, England, Russia
    • Asia-South Korea, China, Japan
  • My favorite color is bright blue
  • My favorite ice cream is mint chip

23 Responses to About Me!

  1. Fitness training says:

    I have wanted to post something like this on my site and you have given me an idea. Cheers.

  2. Pete McNeill says:

    Enjoy the journey Maria! Thanks for all your support of the current Sachem racewalkers. We are all excited for you!
    Coach McNeill

    • mushie0408 mushie0408 says:

      Still being a part of Sachem Track makes the journey all the more enjoyable. Being a part of the team has really helped to boost my spirits when I struggled through setbacks and prior injuries. The girls helped to keep me positive and motivated whether they know it or not. Before I got on that starting line Sunday I couldn’t help but think about their performances at counties and how inspiring it was, the way they stepped it up and raced with guts and heart. I was so proud of them and wanted to experience that thrill after a satisfying race myself. The girls have worked hard to get to where they are and will undoubtedly experience even more success as we reach the height of the post season! Glad to be part of their journey and thankful for their support along mine! Can’t wait to see what’s in store for all of us…Amazing Awaits!

  3. Michael Roth says:

    Maria,

    All the best to you on your continued quest for athletic excellence. I knew from day 1 that you’d be this good. Stay well & I hope to see you again soon.

    Michael

  4. Sasha Fierce says:

    You are INSPIRING…. good luck in your journey Maria!

    • mushie0408 mushie0408 says:

      Thanks so much Sasha (;
      Glad you’re able to compete this season, best of luck in your upcoming races. Just do it!

  5. TX says:

    I think About Me! | Maria Michta’s Journey to London is a nice article and you do a good job of writing detailed information. Thomas

  6. Ellen says:

    Hoping all your dreams come true. I’ts amazing that your big event is right around the corner. It was quite a few years ago that Lucia spoke of you going to the Olympics…with never a doubt that you’d make it there. All of Sachem is proud of you.

  7. money says:

    This is a great post, thanks!

  8. sachem 2009 track allumi -sprints says:

    Good luck ! I ran for sachem but years after you and knowing someone from our area got this far makes me proud of our coaching staff and school. You are famous umong sachem track and field, we all know or heard of who you are because of the accomplishments you made. Mr young talks very highly of you. Good luck !

  9. Elaine Cardosanto says:

    I once worked with your mom at Laurel Hill and we were friends with your pArents. I met them again at a track event where you were competing and they were so proud of you. Congratulations on reaching your Olympic dreams!!!!! I wish you all the best!!!!

  10. Greg Prete says:

    Good luck in London and congratulations Maria! I remember when you were about 4-years old, as your Dad had your picture at his desk when we worked together at Grumman in the late 80′s. Incredible journey for everyone!!

  11. Lisa LeFrancois says:

    Maria we are so excited for you to make it to the Olympics!!! Congratulations on fufilling your Olympic dreams!! You have always had such determination and drive. We patiently waited to see the results during the Olympic trials and shouted with joy when we saw that you had come in first place! Good luck in London! We will be watching and rooting you on!!

    Ed and Lisa LeFrancois

  12. Erica O. LIU post grad 09 says:

    Congratulations Maria, we are very proud of you…the whole USA will be cheering for you. All the best and love from your fellow LIU Alum 🙂

  13. Matt Febles says:

    Maria – we’re so psyched for you! We’ll be in London to cheer for you & team USA!

  14. Lindsay LaFleur says:

    We are all rooting for you Maria! You have come so far and accomplished so much! You are truly an inspiration to athletes everywhere!

  15. Kimber Larimore says:

    Maria, what do you think your factors of success were to becoming an Olympian?

    • mushie0408 mushie0408 says:

      1. Having a dream
      2. My Drive and determination to become my dream
      3. believing in my dream and my capabilities
      4. My amazing network of support especially my family
      5. Great coaches since high school through til now
      6. Having an understanding PhD mentor and Graduate School Dean
      7. A never give up or give in attitude

      • Kimber Larimore says:

        Thanks so much! Everyone will be impressed when I got an answer from an Olympian! Keep being awesome!!!

  16. Robert Cella says:

    Wow, I feel so honored to have known an Olympian! Congratulations, Maria, on making it so far in what you love to do.

    Thanks for sharing your experiences in London with all of us back home. It’s awesome to know what goes on behind the scenes at the greatest sports event in the world!

    On top of that, seeing Joey’s name and face in these posts was a nice surprise and brings back some great memories from the Sachem days. I always sat right in front of him in more classes than I can remember. I’m glad our last names were so close, alphabetically. He was always so funny.

    Good luck in your race tomorrow. I’ll definitely be watching. Swing those arms and visualize the gold!

  17. Meranda says:

    I watched the Race Walking this morning and I just wanted to say congratulations! You did a great job with a great time! Win or lose – you made it to the Olympics and finished your event. That is inspiring and I really can appreciate your motto. =0)

  18. Sophie says:

    Wow! Amazing! Good luck! 🙂 How old do you have to be to Race Walk in the Olympics?

    • mushie0408 mushie0408 says:

      Hi Sophie,

      In order to compete in the Olympics for 20k race walk an athlete must be 16 or older by Dec 31st of that year. For the 50k race walk (men only) it will most likely be 20 or older by Dec 31st of that year although I don’t believe this has been made official yet for the 2016 Olympics. Are you interested in race walking in the Olympics? Do you currently race walk now?

      -Maria

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