Q&A: Josh Sundquist

This is Josh. He beat cancer, raps, writes books and skis with one leg. What do you do?

This is Josh. He beat cancer, raps, writes books and skis with one leg. What do you do?

By Lorin Drinkard

Photo by Gil Williams

Josh (Sundquist), you were diagnosed with a rare bone cancer that led to a leg amputation at the age of 10. What was the doctors’ prognosis of your future recovery?

“They gave me a 50 percent chance of survival.”

You took up ski racing just a few short years later and in 2006 were named to the U.S. Paralympic Ski Team. What was your inspiration for hitting the slopes?

“After I lost my leg I found I was a little bit slower at most things than I used to be. Skiing was the one activity I could do as fast as anyone with two legs. … Skiing gave me the opportunity to be a competitive athlete.”

From your truly hilarious “Sh*t People Say to Amputees” video, it’s clear people like to present you with some redonkulous questions. What’s the most annoying question people ask you?

“A fully grown man at a bar in Georgetown asked when my leg would grow back. I wondered the same thing about his brain.”

In your book “Just Don’t Fall,” you recount everything from being homeschooled and playing soccer to training in the Rockies without the it’ll-make-you-sick sugar coating on top. Is it important to be truly honest about real obstacles you’ve encountered?

“Maybe not if you are talking about, say, a first date. But if you are writing a memoir, then yes. Whether it’s in a speech or in my book, I just want to share an honest, relatable story, and then let you decide what it means to you or your life.”

“1mt1mt” (one more thing, one more time) is a pretty rad racing—and life— motto. When did you first develop it? How have you seen 1mt1mt make a difference in your life, and the lives of others?

“About two years before the Paralympics, my coach told me that my chances of making the team were one in a million. When I was skiing, I wrote that motto on the tip of my skis, and as I’ve shared that story in my speeches, … it seems [to] resonate with people. Sports teams embroidered it on their jerseys, students painted it on their walls, and five people have sent me photos of a “1mt1mt” tattoo.”


(June 2012)