The journey for many Olympic athletes starts when they're young. They hone their craft, train until it hurts, and come out the other side with medals around their necks. If that wasn't hard enough, Paralympians face even more challenges. Our friends at Dose.com sat down with one athlete who competes against all odds. Three time Paralympian and three time medalist, Tucker Dupree, swam competitively when he was young, but during his teens he lost 80% of his vision in just four months.
He now can only see peripherally, which means he can see out of the side of his vision. When swimming, he counts his strokes and is only able to see the lane ropes to each side as he zooms past them. Dupree attributes a lot of his drive to his coach, Jeanine Carpenter. She was with him before, during, and after he lost his sight and told him he had two choices. In Tucker's words, "You can pick between what's right, and what's easy. It's easy to become depressed and let this become [his] identity, or (he) can do the right thing and leave a legacy."
Tucker choose the latter and is striving to make his mark. He competed in Beijing, without a medal. This "lit a fire" in him to train harder. At his next showing in London, he earned two bronzes and a silver. He's hoping that in Rio he can further prove to himself and to all those that put limitations on him because of his sight that he is "ready to leave it all in the pool, and win gold medals for our country." The 2016 Paralympic games begin September 8th.