SALT LAKE CITY - Hearing what’s going on around you can be vital when it comes to speedskating, but one aspiring Olympian is determined to compete with the best despite being deaf.
Michael Hubbs was born without hearing, but that hasn't stopped him from hearing the call of the ice.
"I just love to skate," he said. "It doesn't matter if it's hard or easy. I love to skate."
Hubbs' goal is to make the Olympic team in 2014, which would make him the first deaf speedskater to compete in the Olympics. It's a goal he takes seriously, so much so that he spends at least 30 hours each week training.
"It's always nice learning new experiences every day," he said. "You know it's something new."
Hubbs skates in national competitions as well, most recently he skated in the North American Championships in Utah.
Hubbs has had a difficult journey. In 2010 he switched from inline speedskating, which many know as rollerblading, to skating on ice. He sold his belongings, including his car, and bought a one-way ticket to Salt Lake City. He said success starts with having the right mindset.
"Everything should come in your head," he said. "So whatever you think: you are. If you think you can't: you can`t. If you think you can: you can. So everything starts up here in your head."
Hubbs' hard work has paid off. He has qualified for the Olympic Trials, which will be held at the end of 2013. Hubbs said roadblocks shouldn't stop people from pursuing their passions.
"It doesn't matter if you're deaf, it doesn't matter if you have pain, it doesn't matter," he said. "Anybody can achieve their dreams, anybody can."