Deaf Triathlete Beats Cancer And Personal Barriers

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Colorado triathlete doesn’t let hearing loss, cancer stand in his way of athletic success.

Cancer was just another bump in the road for Eagle, Colo. resident and semiprofessional athlete John Klish.

After being born with profound bilateral hearing loss, the 30-year-old engineer is accustomed to overcoming challenges. If anything, growing up deaf has given him greater insight toward accomplishing goals.

“Mountain biking and competitions have helped shape my personality,” Klish said. “I’ve learned to keep myself calm at all times, even when people are passing me or when things are not going well. Otherwise, I waste the energy and focus I need to complete my task. I apply this concept to my real life.”

Klish currently works full time as an engineer for the Colorado Department of Transportation.

Part of his lifelong dream is to become a professional athlete. That’s why he’s been especially busy with competitions in 2011. He primarily competes in triathlons and biking and foot races, and many of those races are on consecutive days.

“This year, I’ve participated in 23 races since January with 16 podiums,” Klish said on Aug. 2. On Aug. 6, he took second overall in the Xterra Indian Peaks Triathlon and seventh overall in the 10K @ 10,000 feet on Aug. 7. “By the end of the year, I plan to have completed between 50 to 60 races — trail running, mountain biking, road biking, swimming, triathlons, cyclocross, snowshoeing, rando-racing.”

Read more: Vail Daily

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