America is called the Land of Opportunity. Work hard, persevere, and you will ultimately be rewarded. It isn’t often that we run across a person who has overcome incredible odds to prove this adage true. We need to look no further than gymnast John Orozco.
Today’s remarkable listing is a T-shirt signed by the 2012 Olympic gymnast. I had the opportunity to meet this celebrated athlete at the eBay campus, and his story is very inspiring.
John seemed like a kid with the odds stacked against him: he grew up in the Bronx, and his father was a sanitation worker. But one day his dad picked up a flyer from Sutton Gymnastics in Manhattan which had a gymnastics program for economically disadvantaged kids. With his dad’s urging, eight-year-old John decided to try out for gymnastics, and suddenly his life took a completely different path.
As he got older, his training moved to Chappaqua, New York, which was worlds away from where John was born, both in actual distance from home, but also in terms of the socioeconomic makeup of his training environment. John admits to feeling like fish out of water, especially when the well-off kids around him didn’t understand why he couldn’t easily take trips to the various gymnastics competitions and stay at hotels like they did. Instead, if and when John and his mom were able to go to the competitions, they would sleep in the car the night before, and then make their way to the day’s competition..
Through all the challenges John faced, his parents encouraged him to continue in the sport. His parents made sacrifices and diligently drove him to and from training almost daily.
All of John’s hard work paid off when, in 2007, he won the Junior Visa U.S. National Championships, and became the youngest male gymnast to qualify for the finals. His success continued as he grew older and in 2010, after graduating high school, got invited to the Senior National Championships. Sadly, he sustained an Achilles tendon injury and was not able to finish the competition. He entered physical therapy and, after rehabilitating from his injury, returned to competing. He experienced quite the welcome back, winning the Visa Championships in St. Louis, Missouri in June 2012. He was ready for the Summer Olympic games in London.
John admits he did not perform his best during the games. He was young, and he let the pressure get to him. He ended up placing fifth in the Men’s artistic team all-around and eighth in the Men’s artistic individual all-around. Then, last year, there was a stroke of bad luck, when John tore his ACL and meniscus in his left leg.
We await John’s recovery from his latest injury in hopes that he will be back for the Summer games in Rio. We will certainly be right there, cheering for him. What better way to show support for this young competitor than to wear today’s remarkable listing, this #BeInspired campaign T-Shirt shirt signed:
The seller, cradlegear13, has teamed up with the athletes participating in the #BeInspired campaign to sell these signed t-shirts. Unfortunately, the listing doesn’t give us a whole lot of information about the shirts – your best bet is to contact the seller to find out more!
When he was contacted by eBay to choose a charity to receive his donation, John selected the Colorado Training Center in Colorado Springs where they have a boys gymnastics program. He hopes his support for the boys in this low-income area can help them realize their dreams. He gives the boys this piece of advice that he got from his parents: “Be true to yourself.”
Finally, John was featured in a music video by Gym Class Heroes in the song “The Fighter”:
Included is some footage of a very young John Orozco trying his best, as well as appearances by his parents and some of his coaches. Very inspiring!
Take a look at this great video of John, as he tells his remarkable story in his own words:
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