This Tearful Thank You By A Latino Gymnast Will Make You Hug Your Parents

American gymnast John Orozco has gone through a lot of ups and downs over the last few years.


After a disappointing performance at the 2012 Olympic Games…


Orozco and the United States men’s gymnastics team, picked as one of the favorites to medal at the London games, finished fifth in the Men’s all-around competition.

The Boricua gymnast from The Bronx, New York vowed to return to the 2016 Olympic games.


But in early 2015, Orozco lost his mother, who had been battling health problems for several years.


Orozco’s mother was his biggest supporter. He told NBC that she used to drive him from the Bronx to a small town named Chappaqua so he could practice gymnastics.


Orozco also said that his mother called him so often to check in, that after she died, he reflexively expects to get calls from her after competitions.

Despite his personal loss, Orozco continued to pursue his Olympic dream. But he suffered another setback: he tore his achilles tendon.


How bad is an achilles tear? It’s the injury that effectively ended Kobe Bryant’s career. Orozco posted an old photo on Instagram of a previous achilles injury and wrote, “Keep your faith because your hard work will pay off in the end.”

Doctors told Orozco that he would be out of commission for a year. He returned to gymnastics after six months.


Orozco told NBC that he wallowed in his misery for a while. Once it got old, he was ready to move on: “I think it’s OK to acknowledge that sometimes life isn’t fair and you want to cry and curl up in a corner and disappear … It’s necessary to soak in the sadness. Then it’s like, ‘OK, I had my little pity party, let’s get back on track.'”

At this year’s Olympic trials, the 21-year-old showed he is back to his old self:

Credit: Team USA / Twitter

If there were any doubts about his Achilles, Orozco silenced them with landings like this one:

Credit: Team USA / Twitter

When Orozco learned he had qualified for this year’s team, he broke down.

Credit: Team USA / YouTube

He told NBC’s Andrea Joyce that he couldn’t have made it without his mother.

Credit: Team USA / YouTube

“My mom was there the whole time. I know she’s looking down on me, and she’s so proud.”

Orozco later took to Instagram to celebrate his achievement.


“The first time my dreams came true and the second time.” Orozco included the hashtags #transformationtuesday and #thefighter.

Watch the full interview @ Team USA.

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