With the winter games taking place in Sochi, Russia, we thought it would be fitting to spotlight someone in The Rodon Group family with Olympic aspirations.
Matt Baranoski has his sights set on the Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 2016. Matt is the middle son of Mike and Linda Baranoski and a world class competitive bike racer. He won his first World Medal in Italy in 2011 competing in a race called the Keiran at the age of 17. Since then he has gone on to win many races including a time trial in Russia.
His dad, Mike, is a design engineer at The Rodon Group and Matthew’s cycling coach. A family of biking enthusiasts, the Baranoskis started Matthew off at the early age of three. In no time, the training wheels came off and Matt was off and racing. He won his first national race at the age of 12, becoming the Junior National Champion and decided to put all other sports aside and focus on cycling.
Along with his dedication to this sport, Matt has also been a very dedicated student. His dad remembers how upset Matt was when he received his first B grade. He was a sophomore in college. In fact, while competing, Matt continues to carry a full course load in college as he prepares to become an electrical engineer.
Mike Baranoski says that Matt will need to take some time off from school to compete in the Olympics because, for now, it is his son’s primary goal. “Matt is a pretty meek and mild kid, but once he puts his helmet on he becomes a fierce competitor.” says Mike “I don’t think Matt could imagine not making it to the Olympics. Right now, he’s not looking at the scenery; he’s focused on the map.” That map includes competing in UCI races to qualify for the next world cup competition in the fall and making the national time standards. Once he makes it through this phase of competition, the U.S. cycling team will take Matt to 3 or 4 world cup competitions leading up to the Olympics.
So, why has Matt excelled in this very competitive sport? Well according to his dad, it is Matt’s unwavering dedication, commitment and a great deal of hard work. Matt’s day starts at 6 a.m. By 7 a.m., he is at the gym for his morning workout. His classes begin at 10 a.m. and last until 5:30 in the afternoon. Then he focuses on studying and homework before ending the day with some additional sports therapy.
Matt knows that even with his dedication, he could not have achieved all that he has on his own. Here is an excerpt from his website that sums it up nicely.
“With the start of the new year it is a great time to reflect on the year that has just come to a close and plan for the year that just started. 2013 was a great year for me! It included a win at the Revolution in Scotland, bronze medal at Pan-American championships, numerous wins in front of a hometown crowd at the Valley Preferred Cycling Center, four Elite national Championship titles and two Collegiate National Championship Titles. Overall it has been a great year of racing and I have made some great progress towards the ultimate goal of the 2016 Olympics in Rio. I would like to thank to thank everyone who has helped me along the way from my parents and family to my amazing sponsors and team. I could not have done it without you.”
Matt’s thanks go out to his sponsors and supporters including Felt Bikes, K’NEX brands, Recovery Pump, Oakley, Pure Energy Cycling and Powerbar, Nexgen High Performance Training Center, 3T Cycling, Bont cycling shoes, Atomic High Performance and Vie 13 Kustom Cycling Apparel. All of these companies have shown their confidence in Matt’s winning spirit.
So, what does it take to become an Olympian? According to Matt “If you want to achieve your dreams you have to believe in yourself and work hard every day to achieve them. If it was easy everyone would do it.” With Matt’s dedication and the support of so many people and companies cheering him on, we’re confident his Olympic dreams will become a reality.