Let me introduce you to Myles Porter – our USA Parlympic JUDO Silver Medalist
You already know that Swimming is my Sport. At swim practice we were told a that we were having a very special visitor tonight. Really, I had no idea of what to expect. A USA Para Olympic JUDO Silver medalist was coming to talk to us about his experience. He was bringing his Silver Medal too!
You never know who might know someone that you should know of. And in this case, Myles Porter was coming for a weekend visit to the home of one of the senior swimmers on our team, McKenna. He is from their hometown in Ohio and is engaged to McKenna’s cousin. We are thankful that McKenna and her family shared Myles with our team!
I am excited to tell you all that I learned from Myles Porter…..
What is a Para Olympian and what makes Myles Porter a USA Para Olympic Athlete
From the research I did this is what I found out. The Paralympic Games is a major international multi-sport event, involving athletes with a range of physical and intellectual disabilities that, because they work hard and never quit, they are exceptional at their sport. I am sure there is more to it but that’s what I know.
Myles Porter is visually impaired but not totally blind. When he was talking I could see that his left eye looked different than his right eye. And, he had to get his right eye only about 3 inches away from my swim bag when he was autographing it. He is classified as “legally blind” and can never get his drivers license.
Myles Porter is really good at JUDO which is a modern martial art, combat and Olympic sport created in Japan. They fight in specific forms to subdue their opponent. The word JUDO in Japan means “gentle way”.
How did Myles Porter become a USA Paralympic Athlete
Well, he didn’t set out to become a Paralympic. Myles said he needed to take one more class to be a full time student at College and he thought JUDO sounded fun. He was pretty funny when he talked about it and how he just didn’t enjoy or do well at other sports.
Well apparently JUDO is his sport! Myles works very hard every day for several hours a day at perfecting his skills at JUDO. That is why he is #2 in the World and #1 in the USA Paralympic JUDO standing. Get this….he is #25 is the World and, after Saturday’s match he solidified his rank as the #1 able bodied/para olympian to go to the pan am games (meaning he is will be the first non sight wrestler to participate in these games). That is pretty cool and tells you a lot about how good he really is despite what people call a disability.
Here are seven things Myles Porter taught me
Never give up on your dreams, even when others quit on you!
Sometimes on the way to your dream, you find a better one.
Perseverance is key to reaching and exceeding your goals
What we are doing right now is not the hardest thing we will do or encounter in our lifetime. But, our perseverance at this will help us through whatever we encounter in our future.
If you want to excel at an Olympic Sport you have to be willing to miss out on normal every day activities like going to the movies, shopping, and just hanging out with friends. But it is totally worth it!
Here is probably the most important thing I learned from Myles Porter, our USA Paralympic Athlete….
Hold your head up & greet the world because you can’t see anything by looking down at the ground. He learned this from his coach!
The silver medal weighs a lot more than I thought and I noticed his has Braille on it.
Other really cool stuff Myles Porter told us about himself
Myles told us that his two brothers are Soldiers; one has served in Afganistan already and one is being deployed soon for Afganistan. Myles wanted to do something for our Country since he could not serve in the military and working very hard at excelling as a USA Paralympic Athlete was his way of serving our Country. He spends much of his time talking to wounded U.S. veterans, encouraging them to not be limited by their physical disabilities. Myles, please tell every soldier you meet that we thank them for their service to our County and we thank you for your service to our veterans.
He is from a small town in Ohio where he was the only person he knew to have a physical disability. Lots of people wanted to make things better for him or felt sorry for him. He didn’t want pity; he wanted to do it himself! Myles said that he works extra hard to be able to prove other people wrong.
Myles eats a lot of food when he is training to keep up his stamina. When he is training his hardest he eats 15,000 calories per day starting it with one pound of oatmeal, six eggs omelet and lots of other stuff. That is a lot of food!
Since he lives at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, CO he gets to meet lots of other Paralympic, Olympic and profesional Athletes. Myles said the Fab Five gymnasts were really little and very nice. We asked if he had met Michael Phelps and he said he’d met him a few times. He also spoke very highly of Koby Bryant and many others. The most important thing they all have in common is perseverance.
He is going to earn the Gold Medal at the Pan Am Games in Toronto in 2015 and at Rio de Janeiro in 2016. He better work out because those medals are heavy! Myles Porter wants kids to know they can excel at anything they put THEIR mind to.
I am excited to watch our USA Paralympic JUDO Athlete Myles Porter win the Gold!