- Three-time Paralympic silver medalist in alpine skiing, entrepreneur, and investor
- Born with the genetic eye disorder retinitis pigmentosa, the second leading cause of blindness
- Won eight World Cup races, nominated for an ESPY, and named the Paralympian Male Athlete of the Games by NBC in 2014.
- Charismatic and passionate speaker who discusses a wide range of topics, from business lessons to overcoming adversity
Mark Bathum was born with retinitis pigmentosa, the second leading cause of blindness, and has been legally blind since his late 30s. Mark embraced this challenge in his late 40’s and is currently the top-ranked visually impaired ski racer in the world in the downhill event. He is a three-time Paralympic silver medalist in the 2010 and 2014 games, is the top-ranked adaptive alpine racer in the U.S., has won eight World Cup races despite attending only half the races each year, was nominated for an ESPY, and was named the Paralympian Male Athlete of the Games at the inaugural U.S. Olympic and Paralympic “Best of U.S.” Awards ceremony broadcast by NBC in 2014.
Top-Ranked Alpine Racer. After a lifetime of hiding his eye disease from all but family and his closest friends, Bathum embraced his disability and returned to the passion of his youth: ski racing. As a teen, Bathum dreamed of making the U.S. Ski Team; this goal appeared attainable because Mark was a top ten ranked junior ski racer in slalom and giant slalom and top 15 in downhill. Unbeknownst to Mark at the time, he was losing his peripheral vision to an inherited degenerative eye disease. Mark’s vision loss eventually inhibited his performance and led to his retirement at age 18. After a 30 year retirement, Bathum resumed racing and joined the Paralympic racing circuit. Despite working full time and only racing on his vacation days, Bathum qualified for the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic games at age 51 and won a silver medal in the downhill, hitting a top speed of 76 mph. Bathum followed this up with two silver medals at the Sochi Paralympic games in 2014 at age 55.
Business Career. Bathum earned his MBA from UCLA in 1986 and has worked in marketing, business development, sales, and contract negotiation. He began his career working in Europe for his family’s industrial lifting equipment business and helped develop new markets and establish a network of distributors. After obtaining his MBA, Bathum worked in brand management at Nestle. Bathum and his brother then founded a shoe business that eventually became the Bite golf shoe brand which they sold to Crocs. Bathum worked for several internet startups, one of which he still works for today. In addition to working full time and competing internationally in adaptive racing, Bathum is an active investor in early stage life sciences businesses and owner/operator of six rental properties.
Business lessons from competitive sports and an entrepreneurial success story. With this fast-paced speech, Mark Bathum explains what it takes to become a Paralympian and how he competes against young men that could be his adult children. Bathum shares practices learned in business such as goal setting, planning, discipline, decision making, time management, prioritization, innovation, and amplifying his strengths to compete. Conversely, Bathum tells how he uses what he has learned from partnering with his guide about teamwork, leadership and servant leadership in business. Bathum also discusses how he achieves peak performance and manages the pressure of competing in the Paralympics and in events that risk severe injury.
You can accomplish anything. Bathum uses his Paralympic story to motivate people to find their passion, to set a series of escalating goals to achieve their passion, and to craft and commit to a plan to achieve these goals.
Becoming the person you need to be to succeed. Bathum explains how he surveys the competitive landscape, identifies what and who he needs to become to be successful, how he consults with coaches/mentors and then visualizes and behaves in the manner needed to succeed.
Attitude and overcoming adversity. Blindness is the second most feared health issue behind cancer. Bathum illustrates that the level of adversity one feels is directly correlated to a person’s attitude and will have you thinking differently about the range of vision and abilities of the blind. Bathum is well versed in stem cell and gene therapies, the “holy grail” therapies that are predicted to end and reverse many incurable diseases in the next five to thirty years.