As a wrestler, Dartanyon Crockett was a tough and aggressive athlete, relying on speed, strength and a strong attack to pin his opponents quickly.
On the judo mat, where Crockett now competes, aggression takes a backseat to technical finesse. “If you’re aggressive and attack all the time,” Crockett says, “ you’ll probably get your own body weight used against you.”
Crockett began his transition from wrestling to judo when the U.S.A. Judo coaches recruited him, in 2010, to their sport. He took the opportunity and ran with it, taking the 1st place national title in the 81kg and 90kg categories.
It was a huge change, but Dartanyon has been dealing with challenges all his life. He was born with Leber's disease, a degenerative disease that causes acute vision loss. He lost his mother when he was only eight. His father struggled with addiction to drugs and alcohol, which left Crockett with an unstable home life. (His father has been sober now for three years and “is and always has been my biggest supporter and fan.”) In need of an outlet, Dartanyon turned to wrestling for his high school team, where he held a 26-3 record his senior year.
Looking back at his life so far, the 21-year-old Crocket says, “I’m just seeing it as a challenge God has given me and how I’m going to react to this challenge.”
Crocket is currently a freshman at Pikes Peak Community College, majoring in social work. His goal for the London Paralympics: “I want to fight to the best of my ability and leave it all on the mat. I want to go home with no regrets.”
Looking to the future, Crocket hopes to compete in the Paralympics through 2020, and his coaches agree he will only get better. “I think, long term, the sky is the limit for Dartanyon,” says Ed Liddie, Olympic bronze medalist and USA Judo’s Director of High Performance.
Dartanyon is on Facebook and will be a featured athlete on the Medal Quest site in August.Back To Athletes