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What Inspires You – A Weekend With Harold Glissen

by DirtyGirl on 11/01/2012

When faced with a challenge, how you choose to handle the situation speaks volumes about your character.  Do you choose to give up and retreat, or do you persevere and turn your obstacles into opportunities.  Every day is a test to our strength and a chance to turn our difficulties into miracles.

Harold Glissen is an inspiration. Being born without a left arm was just one of the hardships Harold faced growing up.  His family was poor and he was picked on and bullied for being different.  Instead of giving up and accepting his lot in life, Harold overcame his encumbrances and turned his life into a model for others in difficult situations.

Motocross aint easy.  It takes physical strength, endurance, and the mindset of a winner.  We break bones, rupture organs, and a lot of times challenge death.  It’s not easy even when in the best of shape, but can you imagine doing it with only one arm?  Harold Glissen took on a sport that’s hard even for the athletically gifted. He set his goals high and refused to let adversity stand in his way.  With determination and a great support system he was able to do what he loved…race dirtbikes. This was no easy feat. Not only did Harold have to go through what all riders do to obtain their pro card, he had to convince track officials that he wasn’t a safety concern to himself or the other riders.  Harold refused to let others deny him of his dreams. In 1998, Harold received his pro card, becoming the ONLY one-armed rider to do so in the world.

Harold never let people tell him what he couldn’t do.  Sure he had opposition and low points. At one time he was told he couldn’t even sweep up a construction site due to his “disability”.  Now he has turned all of those negatives into a huge positive.  Harold had great supporters throughout his life and he felt that it was time for him to help others the way so many had helped him. In 2000, Harold began Only One Inspiration.  This organization was established so Harold could share his experiences, motivate, and inspire others to overcome their personal challenges. Today he travels the country, visiting young kids in school, speaking to them about the adversity and problems they will face in life. He talks to them about bullying and the criticism he faced as a child, and instills the importance of setting and achieving goals.  Only One Inspiration also helps local children faced with difficulties in their sport and guides young athletes towards reaching their dreams.

This past weekend, TSM had the honor of hanging out with this awesome guy.  We met up with him Thursday evening at Hog Heaven Mx in Godwin, NC.  This was the location of Harold’s gnarly wreck back in January that left him with a broken pelvis, severe nerve damage, and long road of rehabilitation and recovery.  The weather did not cooperate and the Pro Shootout had to be postponed. We debated just heading home, but not Harold.  Harold came to ride and he came to ride his 2stroke. As Hurricane Sandy moved into NC, TSM and Glissen packed up and headed north where racing hadn’t been cancelled yet.  After driving thru the night Friday, Harold was up Saturday morning ready to throw down some motos. After a pretty bad wreck in morning practice it was questionable if Harold would be racing that day.  But in true Glissen form, He got back on that 2 stroke and competed in 2 classes.

When asked to chime in on the 2stroke vs. 4stroke debate, Harold will be the first to tell you it’s easier for him to ride a 4stroke but he loves his 2stroke, and Harold Glissen isn’t one to take the easy way out. His says his two stroke is just fun and he was ecstatic about getting back in the bike for the 2stroke Shootout at Sleepy Hollow. He is now strongly considering riding his 2stroke for his 4th appearance in the Extremity Games in which Harold has had top ten finishes for the 3 previous years. Make sure you check back with us for updates regarding Only One Inspiration and TSM’s future endeavors.

TSM is proud to know a hero and we will continue our support of such an inspiration.  If you are interested in having Harold as a guest speaker at a school near you please visit