MEDAL QUEST | MEET THE ATHLETES – Judo | Dartanyon Crockett:  “I set my mind on one goal.” | PBS

MEDAL QUEST | MEET THE ATHLETES – Judo | Dartanyon Crockett: “I set my mind on one goal.” | PBS

My name is Dartanyon Crockett. My sport is judo. My visual impairment,
I’ve had it since birth. I was born with Leber’s
congenital amaurosis, which is a degenerative
eye condition that causes acute vision loss,
and I’m legally blind. Well, growing up in Cleveland
was a challenge in itself because it was hard to walk down
the street, you know, feeling safe
in the neighborhood I live. In high school, I competed
on my varsity wrestling team from my sophomore year
to my senior year. There was an ESPN documentary, and it featured a friend who’s
a double amputee and myself. COACH:
Drive, drive! Under control! It was pretty much about
our wrestling career, but mainly about the friendship
and bond that we share. The Paralympics contacted us. I had no idea that visually-impaired sports
existed. I was explained what it was
and what they wanted me for, and I was, like,
“That’s amazing.” So I was on the first plane out
to Colorado to come do a demo, and moving from Cleveland
to Colorado Springs was very difficult
the first few weeks. Making the transition
from wrestling to judo, it was hard to get used to it, so I was homesick
for the first six months. I had already fallen in love
with judo when I first started it–
the whole discipline, the whole martial art
aspect of it, everything about judo,
pretty much– but then I fell in love
with Colorado. It’s been a huge
blessing for me. Growing up, I always had
to worry about, like, where I was going to stay and how I was going to get
back and forth to practice. Here, everything’s
where I need it to be. I don’t have to worry
about where I want to eat, don’t really have to worry
about, you know, rent. I don’t have to catch a bus,
catch two buses to get to where I need to
for practice. I can just walk two minutes
from my room to the dojo
or to the weight room, so it’s a huge,
huge advantage for me, being able to live on campus
where I train. Ed Liddie, my coach,
he had told me that, “You have a chance
to qualify for London, but it requires you
to move up a weight class.” So immediately I’m like,
“Yeah, definitely.” So once I was given that
opportunity, it was like, I set my mind on one goal and just completely focused
all my time, hard work, effort. My goals for London are to just go out and fight
to the best of my ability and represent my coaches
and the U.S. This is my first games, and I’m
a little nervous going out, but I still want to just
go out there and just leave everything
on the mat with no regrets. You know, it’s just
an unreal experience because after so much
I’ve been through, just… Kids from Cleveland,
this doesn’t happen usually.


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