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2016 Olympics Spotlight: Judo Fighter Dartanyon Crockett

From hungry and homeless to elite athlete- Crockett is fighting for gold.

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Dartanyon Crockett

Dartanyon Crockett didn’t expect an ESPN documentary to change his life. The 2009 Outside the Lines feature “Carry On” chronicled Crockett, a legally blind high school wrestler, and Crockett’s classmate Leroy Sutton—who has no legs—as they helped each other survive rough upbringings in one of the toughest neighborhoods in the Cleveland area. Crockett was frequently homeless and always hungry.

The feature inspired hundreds of viewers to reach out to help, including Team USA judo coach Eddie Liddie, who thought Crockett’s skills on the wrestling mat could be translated into Paralympic judo for the visually impaired.

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Liddie was right. Immediately after getting a call, Crockett was living amongst Olympians in Colorado Springs and learning the challenges of his new sport.

“It was a totally different sport from wrestling, and I didn’t really know what I was doing,” Crockett said, looking back at his introduction to judo.

Within about two years of moving, to the surprise of just about everyone, Crockett both qualified for the London Games and earned a bronze medal there.

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Since then, Crockett has been travelling the world to compete and master his sport. He sometimes visits Cleveland to see family and friends, but he says the Colorado Spring Olympic Training Center is without a doubt his “home.”

No longer a newcomer to the sport, Crockett says he has spent the past four years focused on being the best, most prepared fighter he can be.

“My goal (at Rio) is to win gold, but I’m more concerned with fighting well,” Crockett said. “I want to be able to say that I gave it all that I had, and that all of my training was exactly what it needed to be.”

To learn more about all Paralympic hopefuls, visit TeamUSA.org. The Paralympics begin September 7.

 

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