The fact that Michael Trimble lives a normal life is by itself quite impressive.
The 27-year-old man was born without arms in Ukraine, where he lived in an orphanage for the first years of his life. An American couple in Pittsburgh adopted Trimble when he was 9 years old.
According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Trimble -- whose condition was a result of the Chernobyl disaster -- eventually graduated from college, found a job that lets him telecommute from home, and now lives on his own. But there was one thing he wanted: a bike.
Having ridden a bike in school once, Trimble knew the basics, yet couldn't find any bike shops willing to "roll" with his unique requirements. Eventually, he befriended Michael Brown, a custom bike frame fabricator in the city, who agreed to tackle the challenge.
"All we had to work with was a short 5” stump on [Trimble's] left side and his will to try anything," Brown writes in a blog post on his website.
So he fashioned a bike -- sans handlebars -- designed to be steered via a long bar with a U-shaped attachment at the end. Armed only with the modified bike, a shirt with the sleeves tied off, and a hefty hockey helmet, within 30 minutes Trimble "got the hang of it and was riding on his own and even making turns."
"It was so much fun. It felt like teaching my little child how to ride," Brown told the Gazette of his experience. "Mike was so happy, you could not get the smile off his face."
Trimble's Facebook page is now dotted with the various times and distances he's ridden, all tracked via an app on his iPhone. Under a post noting "10.16 miles in 54 minutes!!" a friend notes, wryly, "taking 'look mom, no hands!' to yet another level."
WATCH Trimble's first bike ride, below:
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At the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Jamaican sprinter <a href="http://usainbolt.com/" target="_hplink">Usain Bolt</a> became a three-time Olympic gold medalist in one fell swoop, simultaneously clinching the world records and Olympic records for the 100 metres, the 200 metres and the 4X100 metres relay. His three wins -- his <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qslbf8L9nl0&feature=player_embedded" target="_hplink">remarkable 100m finish</a> in particular -- stunned spectators and commentators alike, leaving one Guardian writer to call <a href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/blog/2012/jul/13/50-stunning-olympic-moments-usain-bolt" target="_hplink">Bolt's 100m sprint</a> "so thrilling, so astonishingly emphatic, so crushing yet also casual." What made Bolt's success even more impressive was the young man's back story. An unlikely Olympic champ, Bolt was born in a small rural town in Jamaica, where his parents ran a local grocery store.
At the 2000 Sydney Olympic games, <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eric_Moussambani" target="_hplink">Eric Moussambani</a> did not win a medal. In fact, the swimmer from Equatorial Guinea did not even come close. But that hasn't stopped <a href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/olympics2000/swimming/931508.stm" target="_hplink">Moussambani from becoming an enduring Olympic legend.</a> Hailing from one of the most despotic countries in the world and gaining entry into the Sydney games via a wild-card scheme, Moussambani -- who competed in the 100m freestyle -- had not even known how to swim eight months prior to his Olympic appearance. Arriving in Australia, Moussambani had also never even laid eyes on an Olympic-sized pool. But that didn't stop the newly-minted swimmer from giving his best in his Olympic debut. With both of his competitors disqualified due to false starts, Moussambani ended up being the only person to swim his heat. Flailing in the pool, <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8rqI8xwXVac&feature=player_embedded" target="_hplink">Moussambani struggled to finish the race </a>but he ultimately completed it -- "winning" his heat in a time of 1min 52.72sec, the slowest time in Olympic history. By the time Moussambani had reached the end of the pool, however, he had already won the hearts of millions -- and is still considered <a href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/olympics2000/swimming/931508.stm" target="_hplink">his own kind of Olympic hero. </a>
American <a href="http://www.runlolorun.com/" target="_hplink">Lolo Jones</a> is a track and field athlete who specializes in the 60m and 100m hurdles. Jones currently holds the American record for the 60m hurdles and will represent the USA in the 100m hurdles at the 2012 London Games. Jones' ability to overcome challenging hurdles, however, has not been limited to the running track. One of six children, Jones -- who was raised by their single mother -- had a difficult and impoverished childhood. "I grew up quite poor but, I mean, as a kid you don't realize you're living in poverty. My mom was trying to do by any means necessary to make sure that we have what we needed. I definitely do not think I'd be going for this dream had I not seen her pick herself up so many times and keep fighting for us. I think that's why I keep fighting," she <a href="http://shine.yahoo.com/team-mom/raising-olympian-lolo-jones-173700703.html" target="_hplink">told Yahoo! News. </a>
Challenging age-old stereotypes and overcoming staggering odds, 17-year-old <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/10/sadaf-rahimi-afghanistan-_n_1269166.html" target="_hplink">Sadaf Rahimi</a> will be representing Afghanistan at the 2012 London Olympic games. Her sport? Boxing. Female boxers in Afghanistan do not have access to a real boxing ring, so Rahimi has been training in a makeshift gym, making do with limited training equipment to practice her sport. But <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/10/sadaf-rahimi-afghanistan-_n_1269166.html" target="_hplink">Rahimi says</a> she is excited to represent her country and hopes to gain "honor and dignity for herself and other [Afghani] women."
Often touted as <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/learning/general/onthisday/bday/0912.html" target="_hplink">one of the greatest athletes</a> in history, American<a href="http://www.olympics30.com/30greatest/jesse-owens-1936.asp" target="_hplink"> Jesse Owens</a> had to overcome tremendous racial and physical obstacles to become a four-time Olympic gold medalist. Owens, who had been a sickly child from a small town in Alabama, participated in the 1936 Berlin Olympic games -- an event that Adolf Hitler had hoped would serve to showcase Aryan ideals. But Owens was determined to remain unshaken by the ethnic bias and in the end, clinched the gold medal for the 100 meters, the 200 meters, the long jump and the 4X100 meter relay. Owens was the most successful athlete at the Berlin games.
Natalie Du Toit
Representing South Africa at the 2008 Beijing Olympic games, <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/18/sports/olympics/18longman.html" target="_hplink">swimmer Natalie Du Toit </a>became the first female amputee in an able-bodied Olympics, competing in the women's 10 km race. Du Toit, whose left leg was amputated in 2001 after a car accident, is a successful Paralympian who competes without the aid of a prosthetic limb. In 2010, Du Toit was awarded the <a href="http://www.laureus.com/content/natalie-du-toit-0?awardyear=2010&nomwin=w" target="_hplink">Laureus World Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability</a> for "breaking down the barriers between disabled and able-bodied sport."
Despite being offered millions of dollars to join other national teams, Cuban boxer <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Te%C3%B3filo_Stevenson" target="_hplink">Teofilo Stevenson</a> consistently refused to leave his beloved country. "No, I will not leave my country for one million dollars or for much more than that," <a href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/blog/2012/jul/02/50-stunning-olympic-teofilo-stevenson" target="_hplink">he once said.</a> "What is a million dollars against eight million Cubans who love me?" Many couldn't understand his rationale and many more underestimated his skills as a boxer. But in time, Stevenson would go on to gain a place as a national hero, a boxing legend and a three-time Olympic heavyweight champion. Stevenson won gold for Cuba at the 1972, 1976 and 1980 Olympic games.
British cyclist <a href="http://cyclinginfo.co.uk/blog/160/cycling/chris-boardman/" target="_hplink">Chris Boardman</a> was an unlikely Olympic champ. An unemployed carpenter at the time of the 1992 Barcelona Olympic games, Boardman -- who competed in the 4,000m individual pursuit -- did not think he was capable of winning a gold medal. His German opponent Jens Lehmann had been the World Champion in 1991 and was a favorite to win the event. But Boardman, riding on a new <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chris_Boardman" target="_hplink">"super bike" called the 'uni-axle,'</a> sped to victory -- winning Britain's first cycling Olympic gold in 72 years.
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