Twenty-year-old Michael Savage from Langley proudly shows off his five gold medals from the July 17 to 20 B.C. Summer Games in Nanaimo. Savage won gold in the 100m, 200m, 400m, 800m and 4x100m relay events in the Special Olympics division of the games. He also placed fourth in long jump.

Five gold at Summer Games for Langley runner with autism

Langley athlete collects medals and memories from the BC Summer Games.

When Langley runner Michael Savage settled in at the starting line during the 2014 BC Summer Games, he had just three months of formal training behind his belt.

The 20-year-old, surrounded by athletes with years more practice on the track, didn’t even use a starting block like many other competitors.

It would be hard to tell looking at the final results from the July 17 to 20 Special Olympics division at the Games in Nanaimo. Michael, who is autistic, took home five gold medals, earning a spot on top of the podium in the 100m, 200m, 400m and 4x100m relay events. In one race he beat his nearest opponent by a full three seconds, Michael’s dad Mike told The Times.

The “dominant” performance came as no surprise to his parents.

“He’s been running for years, anytime he gets frustrated,” said Mike, explaining that Michael would escape to the family’s two acre yard when he had problems communicating, always coming back feeling better with barely a bead of sweat on his forehead.

“He would run what seemed like miles, like Forrest Gump.”

Michael’s younger brother Alexander has a passion for track and field too, and after taking gold in midget (16 and under) long jump last year at the Legion Canadian track and field championships, Michael wanted to earn some medals of his own.

But that’s not the only thing that motivates him, according to Michael himself.

“Always be humble, and be super fun and believe in yourself,” he said while practicing his best impression of Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt’s famous Olympic win pose.

Michael said he’d like to keep running competitively, and enjoys making new friends at events.

“The scary part about it is that he’s raw,” said his dad. “If he has professional coaches this boy is going to be setting records.”

Mike said his son doesn’t worry about his competition, and although Michael may be “all business when the gun goes off,” there are always plenty of smiles, hugs and congratulations for his competitors post-race.

“Michael doesn’t like to lose, just like the rest of us,” he said, adding that he was impressed with how easily coachable his son was once he kicked off official training for the Summer Games at Bear Creek Park three months ago.

Aside from the track Michael loves cartoons. He brings that fun attitude to his training, imagining himself as his running alter-ego, the “Super Sonic Roadrunner,” said Mike.

Mike is confident his son has the talent and drive to allow him to work towards representing Canada in national and international Special Olympic competitions. There is no question about Michael being able to handle the pressure, he added.

“If there’s a task at hand, that’s all he’ll think about.”



Just Posted

VIDEO: Bowen Byram named top prospect

Giants defenceman recognized as premier NHL draft pick

Langley golfer James Allenby takes Canada Life Open lead

Shot career-low round at Point Grey Golf & Country Club

Langley Thunder kick off 2019 season with high hopes

Home opener set for Wednesday, May 29 against the Burnaby Lakers.

Langley Home Expo shows off home and yard improvements

The annual event is being held in Brookswood at the George Preston Rec Centre

Kodiaks dominate spring season

Seven lopsided wins in a row for the 2018 provincial midget champions

Police release photos of suspect in daytime sex assault at Vancouver woman’s home

A young woman, in hers 20s, was followed home by the man, before he violently attacked her inside

Raptors beat Bucks 100-94 to advance to franchise’s first-ever NBA Finals

Leonard has 27 points, 17 boards to lead Toronto past Milwaukee

Third person charged in death of B.C. teen Bhavkiran Dhesi

Inderdeep Kaur Deo facing charge of accessory after the fact to murder

Kamloops girl, 9, recovering from carbon monoxide poisoning now out of ICU

Her mother who was sleeping in the same tent with her did not survive

UPDATE: Surrey RCMP say boy, 11, missing for two days found safe

Dominic Mattie was last seen at 5 p.m. in the 13500-block of Gateway Drive in Surrey

‘I think he’s still alive’: B.C. mom pleads for help finding son last seen a month ago

Family offering $5,000 reward for information leading to the safe return of Tim Delahaye

New poll suggests one-third don’t want politicians to wear religious symbols

Local politicians shouldn’t be allowed to wear hijabs, crucifixes or turbans on the job, survey suggests

Raptors fans far from home adjust plans to watch pivotal playoff game

Raptors currently lead the playoff series 3-2, and a win Saturday would vault them into NBA finals

Most Read