Jordan Mouton loved to play soccer as a child. When she was 8, though, she began losing her sight. She was diagnosed with rod-cone dystrophy, a genetic condition. With the help of the United States Association of Blind Athletes, Mouton found a new sport--judo, similar to wrestling. This year, the 19-year-old competed in the Paralympic Games, the world's top competition for disabled athletes. She talked with Current Events about her experience.
Current Events: How did it feel to make it to the Paralympics in Beijing?
Jordan Mouton: At first, it felt unreal.... It was emotional and intense just warming up. You have to go in there with a fire inside of you or you won't be able to do it. The crowd was huge. There were people cheering for everyone. I knew I was going up against the best of the best. After I lost, I don't think I've ever cried so much. But it was good to get that experience.... It was a whole new world.
CE: What did you like best about Beijing?
JM: Walking around on the streets with my family. ... The people ride bikes everywhere. They have carts of insane food, like goat lungs, pig stomach, lamb intestine, and fried scorpions--but that's normal to them. Everyone we came in contact with was eager to help.... The Paralympics put the topping on the cake.
CE: What advice would you give future athletes?
JM: It's definitely within reach. You have to put forth the effort and don't stop when it gets hard. You can reach that goal if you want it bad enough.
"Never give up." Current Events, a Weekly Reader publication 20 Oct. 2008: 6. General OneFile. Web. 16 Nov. 2009.
Gale Document Number:A187562230
United States Judo Association - USJA
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