Sometimes when we’re set against some drastic odds out fighting spirit comes out. What we take for granted becomes a lifeline when life pits everything against us and to that end, here is a short list of athletes who overcame all the odds to be their best.
Bethany Hamilton may not be familiar to you because she isn’t a part of a mainstream sport like football and soccer. She’s a surfer and a professional one at that. Born in 1990, Bethany spent her whole life on the waves surrounding the beautiful coastline of Hawiia and it was there strategy struck. One morning, as she surfed along Tunnels Beach, Kauai, in a school of turtles, a tiger shark attacked and severed her left arm. Suffering massive blood loss and hypovolemic shock, she barely survived the encounter. From that day on she was told her surfing days were over. Bethany didn’t believe that. One month after the incident, Bethany returned to the ocean and has come in first place seven times out of the eighteen current competitions she participated in.
LeBron James is a legend in the NBA (National Basketball Association) and not just because of her legendary feats surpassing all-time great Micheal Jordan. You see, LeBron grew up in Inner City Akron in Ohio which was steeped in hard poverty and as such, many fell into addiction and crime to sustain a meager living. Instead of slipping into a life of crime which was the norm for people living in Akron, LeBron dedicated himself to his studies, particularly high school basketball and was drafted into the NBA in 2003.
Melissa Stockwell lost her leg when an IED (improvised explosive device) exploded under her vehicle while she was serving with the US Army in the Second Gulf War in Iraq 2004. Melissa didn’t let a missing leg stop her, though. Within months of receiving the life-changing injury, she returned to her favorite hobby of swimming that she had participated in as a child and used it as a means of physical therapy to recover. Later on, she competed in the 2008 Paralympic Games in the USA and become a new record-setter for 100 Meter Butterfly and Freestyle Race.
Alana Nichols is a world-renowned snowboarder but that all nearly came to an end when attempting a backflip, she landed badly and broke her back. She was only 17 when this happened and her future in snowboarding looked bleak, especially since she was paralyzed from the waist down. Alana didn’t let it stop her, though. She returned to sports and earned gold in wheelchair basketball in Beijing 2008. Since then she has returned to winter sports as a skier and won two golds for the Downhill and Slalom events.
Born with fibular hemimelia, Jessica had her legs amputated at a tender eighteen months of age. To prove this wasn’t going to stop her, Jessica entered Paralympic sports at 12 years of age and in 2004 she earned her first gold medals for the 100 and 400-meter freestyle event. She didn’t stop there. Jessica went on to break eighteen world records and won nine gold medals in 2006. She currently has a total of 17 medals, 12 of which are gold.
This goes to show that an obstacle will only stop you if you let it and on those days you feel like you can’t go on, know that these amazing athletes too had those moments but they went on in spite of them.