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Local Sports Spotlight: Jarryd Wallace

Madison Neath Gordon, Staff Writer

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On June 22nd, 2010, Jarryd Wallace’s life changed drastically when his right leg was amdownload-3putated. Ever since he was born, running had been a huge part of Jarryd’s life. He grew up in Athens, Georgia into an athletic family–the son of a tennis coach and former all-conference distance runner. At his school, Oconee County High School, he was a high school state champion in the 800 and 1,600 meter run. Jarryd had planned to run on the UGA track team with a scholarship. Running opened up a world of opportunities for Jarryd. After setting many records and receiving scholarships during his junior year, he began feeling pain in his right knee. The pain later came to be recognized as Compartment Syndrome.

In the following year he took multiple trips to the hospital. With this disorder, he was unable to run. Due to the drastic change in his life, Jarryd lost his way, turning to substance abuse to cope. In an interview Jarryd said, “It was on that day I decided to run from God,” describing how he felt after being unable to finish a 200 meter run due to the excruciating pain in his right leg. After visiting the doctor, his situation became less about fixing his leg and more about how much longer he will have it. Two and half years subsequent to his first surgery, Jarryd went through with the procedure to amputate his leg. Jarryd stated 43 days prior to his surgery he was able to walk pain free for the first time in 4 years.

While doing online research Jarryd came across the world record list for the Paralympics track and field event. Seeing this inspired him to quit abusing substances and focus on a more positive path. His next goal was to join the US team in London. After 2 years of adjusting to sprinting with a running blade, Jarryd would finally join the U.S. paralympic in London. Despite being disqualified in his first Olympics, Jarryd went on to win two gold medals (in 200m and 4x100m relay) and to break two world records (in the 200m twice and 4x100m relay) in 2013. Going from abusing drugs to breaking world records in a matter of three years, Jarryd credited his success to God, who through his journey has given him an amazing support group and sovereign. Jarryd also performed in the 2016 Paralympics, where he returned home with a gold medal for the 100 meter event.   

 

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