Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Ron Hawthorne, KCK native, ready for Paralympic Games

By BRENDA BROWN, Wellcommons.com (via the LJ World)

Today I continue a series of articles promoting the 2012 Paralympic Games in London, and the athletes that will be competing for Team USA. The games will begin August 29th

With Hip Hop clothes and attitude, an entourage of cutting edge fashion friends, and shameless self promotion Ron Hawthorne could be mistaken for an up and coming musician.

He is in fact one of the best judo athletes going to London for the 2012 Paralympics from the United States. His coach, Scott Moore told The Denver Post he expects Hawthrone to do well.

"He is a very gifted athlete and pound for pound, one of the most powerful athletes I've ever worked with,” says Moore. “He has a great work ethic and always trains hard, on and off the mat. I believe Ron will represent the United States well in London and will win his first of many Paralympic medals!”

He got his start in judo early. He recalled watching the 1996 Atlanta Olympics and vowed to make a name for himself on the Paralympic stage.

“I watched wrestling, track and field and other sports during those Olympics, and though I was a 10-year-old, I knew eventually I’d get there,” recalls Hawthorne.

Although he trains in Colorado, Hawthorne grew up in Kansas City, Kan.

Raised by his grandparents, Johnny and Dorothy Alexander, he gives them the credit for pushing him past his disability from a very young age.

Hawthorne suffered a traumatic head injury at the age of two. This injury resulted in optic nerve atrophy, a form of irreversible harm to the optic nerve, which permanently damaged his vision.

"I dealt with my impairment and learned early on how to cope with it,” says Hawthorne. “My grandparents forced me to figure things out on my own, and they never let me back down from anything.

“My biggest focus has been to get to London,” explains Hawthorne. “I know I am underrated and overlooked by many opponents, but you know what? That’s ok. All I want to do is win gold. I can’t wait to see my grandmother and put my gold medal around my grandma’s neck. That is my biggest goal.”

Fighting in the 60kg division, Hawthorne won Gold - USA Judo Visually Impaired National Championships in 2009, but came in fifth in 2010.

This will be his first Paralympic games. He is confident, strong, well trained and ready for Showtime. His twitter handle is Twitter @showtime_60kg. We are ready as well Ron, go make grandma proud.

The 2012 Parlympic Games in London will this Wednesday, August 29 through September 9. There will be 10 daily video highlights packages via its U.S. Paralympics YouTube channel. The videos will chronicle the competition, athlete stories and will also include the Opening and Closing Ceremonies. Videos chronicling the lead-up to the Games will also be available in late August.

NBC Sports Network (NBCSN) will air one-hour highlight shows on Sept. 4, 5, 6 and 11 at 7 p.m. EDT. Following the Paralympic Games, on Sept. 16, NBC will broadcast a 90 minute special from 2-3:30 p.m. EDT.

All NBC and NBC Sports Network Paralympic highlight shows and specials will re-air on Universal Sports Network and UniversalSports.com.

I would still like to see more. If you have read some of these postings, or heard me on KLWN this morning, you know that I am supporting a petition to bring the games more coverage by NBC, if you are interested, please go to www.ipetitions.com/petition/10000-to-cover-the-usa-paralympics/ it asks for a donation at the end, but the fellow who put this together, Damon in Florida asks for NO money, just more coverage

Independence, Inc is a local nonprofit organization that provides assistance to people with disabilities through advocacy, peer support, training, transportation, community education to live life independently.

Brenda Brown is the Director of Development and Marketing for Independence, Inc.