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Tuesday
Jul242012

"It's All About Having A Dream" Maria Michta - Nesconset Goes To The Olympics

By Joe Flynn

Photos courtesy of Legislator Kennedy’s Office

July 24th, 2012. An audience of thousands was present at the Nesconset Gazebo to see the fourth installment of this year’s Nesconset Summer Concert, a free musical family event held every Tuesday night. This week’s performers were Songs in the Attic, a Billy Joel tribute band. The event is put on by the Nesconset Chamber of Commerce and Suffolk County Legislator John Kennedy, and is a partner to Long Island Cares, The Harry Chapin Food Bank.

Legislator Kennedy presented the evening’s special guest: Maria Michta, a Nesconset native who will be competing in the London Olympics in a few short days. Michta was given a proclamation of congratulations and good luck on behalf of the community and many local politicians, as well as a check for over $2,000 raised to bring her family to London to watch her represent the United States.

Michta’s event is the Race Walk, a lesser-known track event that is no less competitive than the running events. The main rule is that each competitor must have at least one foot on the ground at all times, which means the athletes must use different muscles than ones used for speed. In addition, Race Walk events are normally much longer than running events; the Olympic Race Walk is a 20km, or more than 12 miles. At a walking speed, the event is a true test of endurance.

Michta, who graduated from the Sachem School District in 2004, has been racewalking for 16 years. This commitment is a large part of how she got to be where she is today. “It’s all about having a dream and staying with it,” says the athlete. After competing in middle school and high school, as well as at the college level for C. W. Post, Michta decided not to give up on the competition she loves so much. “For me, the Olympics is my biggest inspiration,” rather than a single person or event in her life. “It’s the fact that people can come together from all over the world to do their best for their countries.”

Amazingly, competing in the Olympics is not the only extraordinary race Michta is running in her life. She is also a stellar student, having graduated as the valedictorian of C. W. Post with a perfect GPA of 4.0. Now she is pursuing a Ph.D. in biomedicine.

But the truly amazing thing is that none of this seems to go to Maria Michta’s head. At the Nesconset Summer Concert, she was full of energy, and all of it was for her admirers and neighbors. It was a special inspiration to see all the young girls in the audience who lined up for a picture and to get her autograph on their beach balls and supportive posters. Michta is fulfilling the most important role of the Olympics: she is a hero and a role model for the people who share her home. And when the day of her big race arrives, the entire United States will be cheering for her.

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