Cliff Meidl

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Cliff Meidl (born March 6, 1966) is a two-time U.S. Olympic athlete who participated in the 1996 Summer Olympics and the 2000 Summer Olympics, where he was chosen to be the U.S. Flag Bearer.


After a construction accident that caused him to suffer severe electrical burns and the near loss of his legs at age 20, he battled to recover, and rose to become a two-time Olympian in the sport of kayaking. His fellow athletes elected him to bear the flag and lead Team USA into the Olympic Stadium during the Opening Ceremonies of Sydney 2000. Meidl's inspiring story received major television and press coverage during the Sydney 2000 Summer Olympics.

Meidl currently lives in Southern California, where he works in asset management. He is also a successful motivational speaker and member of the National Speakers Association. His motto is "Ad Astra Per Aspera" (Latin for: To The Stars Through Difficulties), and his speaking presentations focus on the universal topics of courage, hope, and achievement through adversity.

Meidl attended El Camino College, a junior college in Torrance, California before transferring to California State University, Long Beach, where he studied business administration. He later went on to the University of Southern California, where he earned an MBA. The two-time Olympian partners with foundations and 501(c3) organizations to advocate educational awareness, promote the sport of kayaking, and recognize individuals for exceptional effort, courage, and achievement in the midst of challenging circumstances.

Meidl was one of 20 athletes honored in a special collectible set called the Olympian Heroes Series, alongside such greats as Peter Vidmar, Rafer Johnson, and Mark Spitz. The series was created to benefit the Olympians for Olympians Relief Fund (OORF).


Olympic Games
Preceded by
Bruce Baumgartner
Flagbearer for  United States
Sydney 2000
Succeeded by
Dawn Staley