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Athletes who inspire

ATHLETES WHO INSPIRE - Dartanyon Crockett

This week we are highlighting a Judo athlete. For those who aren’t familiar with the sport, Judo is a type of modern martial art. It’s just as mentally demanding as it is physically. 

Dartanyon Crockett is a talented and successful Judo athlete. He was born in Cleveland Ohio on May 21 1991. In the 2012 London and 2016 Rio Summer Paralympics and won bronze. His success is the result of his challenging childhood that sparked passion, drive and optimism to make a great life for himself. 

Childhood

Dartanyon was born with Leber’s Disease, a degenerative eye condition. This disease made him legally blind from the day he was born. Even in bright lights, he can't see anything more than faint shadows. At the young age of only 8, his mother died which left him in the care of his father. Unfortunately his father suffered from a severe case of alcoholism and was not fit to parent. The death of his mother left the young boy helpless. Dartanyon even experienced periods of homelessness throughout his childhood.

Road To Paralympics

At first, Dartanyon found hope and courage through wrestling. It was an effective way for him to release anger. Later on in 2012, Judo coaches had attempted to recruit him. He took the opportunity and discovered a new passion, Judo. In 2014, at the young age of 23, the athlete won his first national title at the Visually Blind World Championships. This success made him the first American to win a world championship.

As a result of his dedication to Judo, he had torn his rotator cuff in 2017 and needed surgery. The operation required him to take 9 months off of practicing Judo to recover. Even though he couldn't wait to get back practicing his favourite sport, he followed doctor's orders and took it easy.

Currently, the Judo athlete is focused on training for the upcoming Summer 2020 Paralympics. On the side he plays the saxophone and does motivational speeches, but above all he is a role model to many. His hardships prove that pain is just temporary and success is attainable for anyone willing to work for it.