Discus star David Blair proved doctors wrong by becoming Paralympics champion despite clubfoot
Blair won gold medal at 2016 Rio Paralympic Games with a remarkable world record of 64.11 meters
Reigning Paralympic gold medalist David Blair is ready to set a world record once again at Tokyo this year. At the last Paralympic Games in 2016, Blair created history by winning a gold medal with a remarkable world record of 64.11 meters. However, becoming a discus world record holder was not easy for the Utah native.
According to Teamusa.org, Blair was born with congenital talipes equinovarus, commonly known as clubfoot. At the time, doctors told him that it won’t be possible for him to function as a normal child because of his condition. But the 45-year-old and his family did not lose hope and after going under the knife a number of times, Blair did his rehabilitation at Shriners Hospital in Utah. He eventually proved doctors wrong by shining in several “athletic endeavors as a child with an adeptness for throwing”.
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It has been said that Blair did not receive proper training in discus throwing. He trained himself by watching videos provided by his high school coach and became the winner of “a high school state championship against able-bodied athletes and received an athletic scholarship to Weber State University in Ogden, Utah, where he set several school records and earned two conference titles in hammer and weight throw,” Teamusa.org stated.
Reportedly, after completing his education, Blair began working as a SQL programmer/Server DBA. However, nearly 16 years after taking a break from the sport due to severe arthritis, he made his comeback in 2015 and won a silver at the world championships in Doha, Qatar. He again shone brightly at Rio 2016 and took home a gold medal.
This year at Tokyo Paralympics, Blair will reportedly be competing against athletes half his age. But his confidence level is not low. He said, “I feel as strong and as competitive as I’ve ever been. You watch Tom Brady do his thing at the Super Bowl at the age of 43, and I’m coming to the realization that if you do it right, there’s a lot more life in us than we realize, and a lot more ability than we realize. It’s one thing to be on the Paralympic team, and another to compete at that level with age as a factor against you, and to show up as a 45-year-old and compete against and even do well against the younger athletes.”
Blair also explained how he continued his training even after everything was shut down in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. He got himself a 325-pound tractor tire and sledgehammer to train on the street every day. He stated, “I was just trying to do anything to get my training going. You felt like you couldn’t miss your training, but it felt risky to go and train. It was a big conundrum for me.”
Blair also noted that due to the pandemic, he felt like he’s in a better space now. “Things are very busy for me. I have a family and a full-time job, and they have activities they need to go to. The pandemic most definitely turned me into a more independent athlete. Coming out of the pandemic I feel like I’m in a better situation than I was going into it. It allowed me to have the ability to do all my training within five minutes of my house,” he mentioned.
About his future plans, he told Teamusa.org, “When you’re a dad and have a family life, you kind of feel like you’re sucking more than your fair share of time from the family to do things that you’re self-interested in. To be fair, they are very supportive and love that I’m doing it, but it’s kind of a selfish thing. So there’s a pretty high chance it will be my last Games. It’s not for sure, but I’ve got a lot of living I’ve got to do."