Michael Milton 33/365


And the gold medal winner for shortest phone conversation on this blog so far, is Michael Milton.

It’s fitting that he should break the record. He’s the fastest Australian skier ever on one or two legs and the fastest person of all time in the whole world, on one, reaching 216 km per hour. He has a drawer full of gold medals.

I message him on Facebook, he messages back but I don’t have his landline number. My husband texts him and he calls back on the mobile. Perhaps that’s why the exchange is so quick, I can feel my ear heating up and he can feel the bill increasing.

Whenever I speak to him I turn into an everlasting eight year old and say ‘Michael, is it true that you are the fastest Australian skier of all time?’ He nods. ‘And is it true that you are the fastest one legged skier of all time?’ He must be thinking ‘Annabel, we’ve been over this,’ but he nods and smiles and I shriek with delight to hear him confirm it.

This might be the first time I have ever spoken to him on a phone. His wife and I normally cobble plans together. He rang to tell me that he is on holiday but then we agree that we might as well have a speedy blog chat. He’s staying in Threadbo, the ski resort, in a flat the size of a cupboard with his wife and family.

We met when he came to stay at our guesthouse to make a film called ‘The Art of Walking’ about The Great Ocean Walk that clings to the coast here. He brought his wife and children and our three year olds fell in love. Did I mention that he broke the Guinness World record for running a marathon on crutches?

He’s coming down to our neck of the woods in October to bike around the forest in the Chase the Dog challenge.  I remember that he competed at a top level in cycling too. ‘Michael, is it true that…’ Yes, he went to the Paralympics at Beijing but wasn’t placed. His greatest achievement was just getting there, coming back from a second battle against cancer, and winning, just months before.

It is great to hear his voice and I’ll get to hear a lot more of it when he’s here in October, if I can just make him sit down.

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