On a beautiful summer’s day on June 27th, 2011, Michelle Salt’s life changed forever. A tragic motorcycle accident landed her in hospital, where she remained on life support for seven days with a number of broken bones. After undergoing numerous surgeries, Salt lost her right leg right above the knee. Always optimistic, Salt wouldn’t let the accident stop her from accomplishing her dreams.
“I was back to work within five months,” she said. Not long after that, Salt became a licensed Realtor and starting her journey as a Canadian Paralympian.
First female Canadian Paralympian snowboarder
Growing up, Salt was always an athlete—she had competed in fitness competitions, played multiple sports and snowboarded recreationally. “I had never competed in snowboarding before,” said Salt. But that didn’t stop her from heading to the 2014 Winter Paralympics in Sochi. For the first time, they had allowed snowboarding to be considered apart of the worldwide competition. And for the first time, she would be competing on the biggest stage imaginable. “I finished ninth and I was still learning how to snowboard,” said Salt. “Before I left for Russia, I had been learning how to balance a schedule that was chocked full of work and training.” Considering all of those factors, Salt was proud of her performance but knew she wanted more.
Striving to place
In 2014, Salt competed in her first NPAA fitness competition since the accident. In 2015, she was named a Canadian National Champion after finishing 3rd in the World Cup final held at the Big White Ski Resort in Kelowna, B.C. Today, after the recent PyeongChang 2018 Paralympics, Salt is back in her home country recovering from a long trip and difficult battle. When Salt left for China earlier this year, she was ranked number three in the world. Knowing she was competing in a difficult category, her hope was to medal. However, “we were all so close through each practice run, you never knew who was going to end up on the podium that day,” said Salt. With a fourth and fifth-place finish in her two competitions, she was disappointed she did not achieve her goal of getting a medal. “There is no animosity in our sport,” said Salt. “We’ve all been through something and we are all grateful to be there.”
Juggling real estate with sports
Like most competitive athletes in Canada, being self-funded is a large part of the reality Salt faces. “I have to work to support myself, but I think real estate and sport go hand in hand.” Coming home after both the 2014 and 2018 Paralympics, Salt said that she finally felt like getting back to the real estate grind was more comfortable and manageable stress. “I’ve learned to turn stress into something positive,” said Salt. “Both sport and work have allowed me to do that with one another.”
Salt says having supportive clients who support her Canadian Paralympian dream is what makes balancing work and competition possible. “It’s definitely not easy to manage work and training,” said Salt. “But when you’re passionate about something, you learn to balance.”
The flexible schedule the career offers is another reason Salt loves the world of real estate. On top of always pushing herself to new levels of competition, Salt says she loves to be a part of unique and different things—which is why she chose to work as a Zolo agent. “I love the concept of having a strong online presence,” she said. “I actually use our app myself because it’s so easy to check for new listings.”
Currently, Michelle Salt is preparing for an upcoming fitness competition before she heads into offseason and summertime. Although her 2018 Paralympic finish wasn’t what she had hoped for, she says the experience couldn’t have been better. “We are all there cheering each other on and we’re happy when we see someone on the podium—no matter who that person might be.”