Last chance to witness glory: Paralympics end Sunday in Rio

Book coverLast month I happened to catch a story on Weekend Edition and heard NPR’s Rachel Martin talking with Lisa Fenn, the author of Carry On: A Story of Resilience, Redemption, and an Unlikely Family. The two athletes Lisa Fenn profiled in her book and in a documentary for ESPN’s Outside the Lines program were there at the interview, too: Dartanyon Crockett and Leroy Sutton.

The story really caught my attention, and I’ve been watching for news of Dartanyon Crockett at the Paralympics in Rio.

Okay, I’ve been listening for news of his judo matches there. Because, just like Dartanyon Crockett, I am legally blind.

Crockett was one of the best wrestlers on his high school team. Leroy Sutton lost both legs in a train accident when he was 11 years old, and when Leroy transferred to Dartanyon Crockett’s high school he took up wrestling. Dartanyon Crockett carried him to practices and wrestling meets, and they took some high school classes together, too, always sitting side by side. “Dartanyon would get up to sharpen Leroy’s pencils,” an ESPN story last month reported. “Leroy ensured Dartanyon could read small print.” Both students graduated from a high school in Cleveland where fewer than 40% go home with a diploma.

Leroy Sutton went on to college from there, and Dartanyon Crockett moved to the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs after coaches there recognized his natural athletic abilities and invited him to learn the Paralympics sport of judo.

All their hard work paid off. Last Saturday, September 10, 2016, Dartagnon Crockett won his second Paralympic Judo bronze medal (he won a Bronze Medal in judo during the 2012 Parolympic Games in London, too).

NBC Olympics have been presenting more than 70 hours of coverage of the Rio Paralympic Games across NBC, NBCSN, and the NBC Sports app –that’s an increase of 64 hours from the London 2012 Paralympic Games. The -by-play commentators, analysts and reporters are all former Paralympians. The Closing ceremony for these 2016 Paralympic Games is Sunday, September 18. Tune in and watch — or listen. You’ll be rewarded.


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