[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/08/02/ypwr_olympic.art._mock2.jpg
caption=”Carlos Leon, 24, is a member of the U.S. Paralympics Track and Field team.”]I thought it would be all business when Carlos Leon was training for the Beijing Olympics at the Lakeshore Foundation in Birmingham, Alabama. No talking. No laughing. I was wrong. At first I gave Carlos his space when he was lifting and doing cardio. But, Carlos is full of soul and spunk even while he’s doing his serious training. He even invited me to join in (although my weights were much lighter than his).
From a headshot or the right camera angle, you’d think Carlos is competing in discus at the Olympics. But, he’s the first to emphasize that he will be in the Paralympics. The 24-year-old Iraq veteran became a quadriplegic while he was diving in Hawaii, celebrating being back in the states.
His physical setback has not squandered his dreams. He’s focused enough to ban his parents from visiting him at the training facility where he now lives. But, he’s humble and fun enough to let a camera crew in to hang out with him days before he’s set to compete.
Update: Watch the CNN.com Live interview
Carlos Leon is a good disc thrower and has a good chance to achieve a gold medal.
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Carlos i wish you the best of luck and bring home the gold Buddy. Your buddies from broward county miss you.
thats my cousin.!!!
good luck out there.
hold it down for the fam.
Good Luck, Carlos! I hope you are enjoying Birmingham!
Mi viejo amigo Carlos. Good luck over there! It’s so nice to see you full of energy & motivation to continue with your training, much better than when I last saw you in Hawaii. I know you will succeed in everything you propose yourself to do in life. Keep in touch once you get back.
My brother had a diving accident and became a quadriplegic.. He was given opportunities to regain some quality of life, but didn’t take them. I reallly wish he could have Carlos’ drive and motivation.
good luck never give up on a dream
Carlos you are awesome. We will see you in 2012. Have you talked to Gabe or Dennis?
Its was great to wortk out with you 3 times on 2008. Hope to do it soon. Jeff Pollock