Ep 79: Paralympian Champ Andy Yohe
“It feels incredible to just crush somebody against the boards”
We have had 78 episodes of underdogs, role players, and people with great stories from all across the sports spectrum. Episode 79 features what is perhaps the best underdog story of them all. Andy Yohe brings his 3 Olympic medals to the podcast for episode 79. Tim and Andy sit down in Andy’s native Bettendorf to bring you this week’s interview.
“The best thing that ever happened to me”
A terrible accident, an incredible rescue, and the loss of his legs almost took Andy Yohe’s life in 1994. After a few months in the hospital, Andy had two rounds of physical therapy each day and wasn’t able to go back to school for another 3 months after getting home. Andy’s mindset is inspiring. He talks about how he accepted his new path and challenged himself to get stronger and return to sports via wheelchair basketball.
Andy’s prowess as a hockey player and his injury led to his recruitment to a sled hockey team. While still playing wheelchair basketball, going to school, and working full time, Andy started commuting to Chicago to be part of a club sled hockey team and travelling the world in the early 2000s.
Playing with one of the best club sled hockey teams in the world prepared Andy Yohe for the 2006 Paralympics in Turin, Italy. His first of three Paralympics ended in bronze but helped launch his international sled hockey career, including being named US sled hockey captain in 2009. Andy and his wife relocated to Rochester, New York so he could increase the level of his training and bringing his teammates together. The 2010 team dominated the Paralympics, shutting out their opponents through the games and taking gold.
The 2014 Sochi games took international competition up a notch. Andy and his teammates were able to defend their title from the ‘roided up Russians in the gold medal game. Andy shares his own Rocky vs. Ivan Drago story of defeating the Russians in Sochi in front of a sold out crowd.
The Brett Favre of Sled Hockey
The love of competition and sled hockey wouldn’t let Andy step away, even as he started a career and his family started to grow. Andy’s shares how the drive of a competitor and the reality of aging led him to retire 4 times. However it is obvious that his role as captain and passion for sled hockey make him an all time great.
Episode 79 is perhaps the greatest story the Moonlight Graham Show has been able to bring you. This week’s interview follows Andy’s journey around the world on a hockey sled in the quintessential Moonlight story.