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Oct 23 Paralympic Medalist Crockett, guest speaker at the annual Sports Diversity and Inclusion Symposium

By Ernest Pund | Oct. 23, 2013, 9:56 p.m. (ET)

U.S. Paralympian Dartanyon Crockett was honored Friday night with the Most Inspirational Athlete Award, given by the Challenged Athletes Foundation in San Diego for his stellar climb to the Paralympic Games in London where he won a bronze medal last summer.

Crockett was also the keynote speaker today  at the annual Sports Diversity and Inclusion Symposium at the US Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs.

Alongside Crockett at the awards presentation and the symposium was Lisa Fenn, the one-time ESPN producer who brought the story of his high school years with best friend Leroy Sutton to television. Crockett is legally blind and Sutton, who was also at the presentation and symposium, lost his legs in a train accident. The two carried each other, sometimes literally, through life, with both scoring impressive records in high school wrestling.

An outpouring of support followed the ESPN report that aired four years ago. The young men were invited to a multi-sport Paralympic talent search at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, where the two were spotted by Eddie Liddie, USA Judo’s Director of High Performance. Crockett, who is legally blind, remained at the OTC to train under Liddie, Sutton went on to study digital design.

"It is humbling to see how the broken pieces of Dartanyon's youth are now being used in such beautiful ways, to inspire others.  He is a shining example of what happens when potential collides with opportunity,” said Fenn, who went on to assist the young men with the flood of opportunity. Her support of the two young men became a focus of ESPN in a lengthy follow-up broadcast on their success that aired in July.

The San Diego-based Challenged Athletes Foundation provides opportunities and support to people with physical disabilities so they can pursue active lifestyles through physical fitness and competitive athletics. Crockett is being honored with the organization’s annual Aspen Medical Products Most Inspirational Athlete Award.

For more information on the Challenged Athletes Foundation, go to INSPIRATION.

For more on USA Judo and Dartanyon Crocket’s career, go to WWW.USAJUDO.US.

Watch the follow-up on Crockett and Sutton by ESPN at CARRYON2.

   


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