At the age of 14, he competed in the 1988 Winter Paralympics in Innsbruck, Austria. There he achieved a 12th in the slalom, an 11th in the Giant Slalom and an 18th in the downhill. In the 1992 Winter Paralympics in Albertville, France, Michael picked up gold medal in the Slalom, which was the first winter Olympic gold for Australia, Winter Paralympics or Winter Olympics. He also got silver in the Super G. From there on he got a medal in every event he competed in at every Winter Paralympics. At the 2002 Winter Paralympics, he won every skiing event.
Since then, the rules for his category have changed. From 2006 onwards, his category included anyone who could stand, whereas previously it had been people with only one leg. The 2006 Winter Paralympics were his last. In his career he has won ten Paralympics medals (six gold, two silver and two bronze). His appearance at the 2006 Winter Paralympics was his fifth and final one, after which he focused more fully on speed skiing.
In April 2005, he was the first person with a disability to break the 200 kilometres per hour mark with a speed of 210.4 km/h. He then aimed to beat the Australian open record of 212.26 km/h, set in 1997 by able-bodied athlete Nick Kirshner. On 19 April, 2006, he became the fastest Australian speed skier - able-bodied or disabled - after setting a world record at 213.65km/h in France.
On 12 July 2007, it was announced on Sports Tonight that Michael has been diagnosed with oesophagal cancer. He had a six centimetre tumour removed from his throat and is now in remission. Less than a year later, he was selected for the Beijing Paralympics, his first Summer Paralympics, as a cyclist.