Competition is more than just a sport, and sports on Versus is beyond winning and losing. The toughest athletes represent a lifetime of determination, competition, domination and tradition. They have toughness, grit and survival, adversity, sacrifice and the will to triumph. They are extreme athletes.
6 weeks after the competition began – round 1 versus 32 on 1st August – Lance Mackey has been chosen as the world’s toughest athlete ever. He is honored by this and he salutes all the other athletes out there. “It is a journey for all of us,” he says.
He was also ranked #2 on Sports Illustrated’s List of Top 25 Toughest Athletes last week – second only to Tiger Woods.
Lance is a four-time winner of the 1,000-mile Yukon Quest and two-time winner of the 1,100 mile Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. In 2007, Lance became the first person to win both the Yukon Quest and Iditarod in the same year, and repeated the feat in 2008. This was considered almost impossible by many and is considered one of the most impressive feats by a musher. Lance was nominated for a 2007 ESPY Award based on his performance. He also won the Tustumina 200 in 2008, and his fourth consecutive Yukon Quest, followed soon after by his second Iditarod.
He was diagnosed with throat cancer after the 2001 Iditarod race and underwent extensive surgery as well as radiation treatment. he started the 2002 Iditarod but had to scratch after the race got underway. he took a year off to recover and is now considered cancer-free.
Mushing runs in the family. His father Dick Mackey was one of the founders of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, and won the event by one second over Rick Swenson in 1978. Also, Lance’s half-brother Rick Mackey won the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in 1983. All three of them won the race on their sixth attempt wearing bib number 13.
Lance really did grow up around sled dogs,
this is him at 4 months at a local sled dog race.
He has a close bond with his dogs starting with Zorro a 9-yr old male and stud at his Comeback Kennels.“The team I have right now is based around him. He is the backbone to my success and I owe it all to him.” “Every day I get to run my dogs and talk to them out in the dog lot while sitting on top of their houses is a good day” says Lance.
Lance was among 20 mushers who signed up on Saturday, 9th August for the 2009 Yukon Quest. “It’s going to be an interesting year for all of us,” he says. “I am expecting another good year with my dogs and hope for good weather conditions.”
Dogs and Mushers descended on North Bay, Ontario yesterday for the annual dog-powered sports symposium.
“This year’s event will be the biggest mushing symposium ever held in Ontario,” says Laurie Ypya, executive director for Ontario’s Near North. “The event will put the second-toughest athlete in the world, as reported by Sports Illustrated, in the same room as a local, world champion sprinter; the largest Ontario-based dog-tour operator; and about 150 of the most passionate dog-powered sports enthusiasts the sport has to offer,” boasts Ypya.