Athlete Leadership Board
Aimee Mullins, founding member, SPIRE Athlete Leadership Board
Aimee Mullins has built a career as an athlete, model, actor and advocate for women, sports and the next generation of prosthetics. She was born without fibular bones and had both of her legs amputated below the knee when she was an infant. She learned to walk on prosthetics, then to run.
As a track and field athlete, she competed at national and international levels and set three World Records at the 1996 Paralympic Games in Atlanta, sparking a frenzy over the radical 'cheetah' design of her prototype prosthetic sprinting legs. As one of three students, at Georgetown University, chosen for a full academic scholarship from the U.S. Department of Defense, she became the youngest person to hold a top-secret security clearance at the Pentagon at the age of 17.
Aimee is a passionate advocate for a new kind of thinking about 'disability'. Her achievements have put her among the "Greatest American Women of the 20th Century" as honored by the American Women's Museum. Her iconic status as a muse in the worlds of art and fashion led her to being selected as the global brand ambassador for L'Oreal Paris.
Aimee was selected to serve as Chef de Mission of Team USA for the XXX Olympiad and the 14th Paralympic Games, held in London in 2012.
Michael Johnson, founding member, SPIRE Athlete Leadership Board
A four-time Olympic Gold medalist, 9-time World Champion and world record holder, legendary sprinter Michael Johnson’s accomplishments have placed him among the most successful Olympians ever. Johnson represented the USA in the Olympics in Barcelona 1992 winning gold in the 4x400 meter relay; Atlanta 1996 winning gold at the 200 and 400 meter events; and Sydney 2000, winning gold again at 400 meters.
During his career, Johnson broke world records in the 200-meter, 400-meter and 4x400 meter relay. He became known as the "Fastest Man in the World” in 1996 when he recorded the fastest time ever clocked by a human, running 23 mph en route to his 200 world record performance of 19.32 seconds. Michael added the 400-meter world record in 1999 clocking 43.18 seconds.
In 2007, Johnson opened the first Michael Johnson Performance Training (MJP) Center in McKinney, TX. Founded as a sports performance training facility, MJP helps athletes reach their full potential using the same training philosophy and training techniques Johnson used to achieve unprecedented success.
The legendary sprinter carried the Olympic Torch for London Games 2012.
Diana Munz, Associate Director of Swimming, Special Projects
An Olympic Gold Medalist swimmer and Northeast Ohio native, Diana Munz joined SPIRE as associate director of swimming. In this role, Munz will oversee the cultivation of relationships with USA-Swimming, the national governing body (NGB) for the sport; club and facility sponsorship partners; and members of the Olympic movement.
Munz’s remarkable professional swimming carrier began in 1996 when, at the age of 13, she competed in the U.S. Olympic trials. A national hopeful for the 2000 Olympics, Munz broke her back and leg in a car accident just before her senior year in high school. In order for her to be ready for competition, she focused 100% of her time on training. Eleven months later, at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games, Munz earned a gold medal in the 200X4 Freestyle Relay and a Silver Medal in the 400 Freestyle. In 2004 at the Athens Olympic Games, Munz won a bronze medal in the 800 Freestyle. A 22-time national champion, Munz’s professional accomplishments also include winning four medals at the 2002 Pan Pacific Swimming Championships in Yokohama, Japan and garnering five medals at the FINA World Championships throughout the course of her career.