Carlos Moleda – the man who turned his greatest misfortune into his greatest adventure

21. May 2019 – Katharina Schlangenotto

His eyes are shining and clear, his skin shows a healthy tan and his body seems to be in top shape. It is still bizarre that this man actually sits in a wheel chair. It still seems as if he would not belong there, as he would get up any second, saying something like: wow, that was an experience!

Carlos Moledas story is the one of an ambitious and foremost adventurous young man from Brazil who was desperate to experience the world.

He grew up in São Paulo and with only 18 years of age, he decided to live a life of adventure, moved to the United States and joined the Navy. He had the ability to work hard and learn fast which eventually won him a coveted spot as a Navy SEAL.

He tells his story without regrets: As a Navy Seal, he had to face an intense firefight in Panama in 1989. The mission was to secure the airport, nine of the 10 men in his platoonn were wounded, four fatally. Carlos himself was hit close to his spine and leg. He lost feeling in his lower body forever.

He explains that one of the scariest part of a disability is that you need to restart your whole life from scratch. „You find yourself in a hospital roo, staring at the ceiling asking yourself: ok, what am I gonna do now? You had a job that you loved, had friends that could count on you and all the sudden, everything is gone. You have to rethink your whole life, your whole future. And you have no place to start.“

Instead of giving up, he found sports and competitive sports in particular to be his calling. „Sports saved my life, I think“, Carlos Moleda says. A friend of his from the Navy came to visit him at the time and said rather clear that he needed to change his whole life and that he needed to do that on his own. „He said to me: no one is gonna hold your hand“, Carlos recalls. It was hard but the truth. His words were his wake up call and he figured: „Hey, I am still the same person, I just can’t walk anymore!“

Sports proved to be the best way to recover for Carlos Moleda.

He turned his misfortune into his greatest adventure and became a champion. He says: „We all have a disability in us. Mine is the chair, which is visible. Athletes like us have a duty to fullfil, to see things positive. I want people to see me, to look at me, I don’t want them to see the chair.“

Carlos Moleda has done his job. Most people see him as the athlete and strong man he his: he won the 367-mile Sadlers Ultra Challenge handcycle race in Alaska, is a two-time National Handcycling Champion and a four-time Hawaii Ironman Champion a physically challenged division record.

He says about the decision to do his first Ironman in a wheel chair: „For the first time, I felt able. Able, not disable.“ This is what he wants to pass on to his audiences today: to feel able. To feel power inside, despite any disability, may it be visible or visible.

Carlos Moleda has an aura around him that his incredible. It is worth to meet him in person. Contact:

Carlos Moleda

Competitive athlete, motivator, speaker and spokesman of the Challenged Athletes Foundation