This is Michael’s 16th season in the Irish vest and he has already won 12 medals at major championships. They include four Paralympic golds in his three Games to date; 800m in 2008, a 800m/1500m double in 2012 and 1500m gold in 2016 (in 4:12.11) when the 800m was removed from the programme.
The first medal of Michael’s glittering career was 800m gold at the 2006 World Championships. He has since added five more world titles, including double golds in 2015 and 2017 and was a double European champion in 2014.
But a groin injury that needed surgery in 2018 side-lined him for a full year. He returned in time for the 2019 World Championships where he failed to make the podium by just 0.4 of a second, which he attributed to lack of race practice that season.
This year he has shown a return to top form, winning silver in the T38 1500m final at the European Championships where his time of 4:09.85 was also a T37 championship record.
His season best time of 4:06.33, run in Belfast in May, has him ranked second in the world ahead of his fourth Paralympic Games.
Michael, who is coached by his school teacher dad Paddy, has also represented Ireland in the European Cross-Country Championships and has competed in able-bodied athletics throughout his career.
He is an outspoken advocate for mental health issues after suffering from depression himself and seeking help before the Rio Paralympics.
Michael and Kenya’s Mary Nakhumicha Zakayo received the Whang Youn Dai Achievement Award – for best exemplifying the best spirit of the Games – at the closing ceremony of the 2012 Paralympics. He married Nicole Martin in November 2018.