The tears streamed down John Orozco‘s face. He was thinking of everything he came back from. He was thinking of his mom.
Orozco came back from a tragic 2015, the loss of his mother and a potentially career-ending injury, to make his second Olympic team on Saturday night.
“After the past year and a half I’ve had, and all the people that doubted me, I finally found the strength within myself,” a crying Orozco told Andrea Joyce on NBC. “My mom was there the whole time. I know she’s looking down on me, and she’s so proud.”
Orozco’s mother, Damaris, used to drive him daily from the Bronx to the hamlet Chappaqua for gymnastics practice, usually more than an hour away with traffic.
After meets, Orozco would always find his phone flooded with texts from her, even if she wasn’t in attendance.
Damaris suffered from health problems including lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. She died in February 2015.
Then, on June 15, 2015, Orozco tore his right Achilles for a second time. A doctor told him he’d be out about one year. Orozco cut that timetable in half.
He was in a precarious position going into the Olympic Trials this past week, after placing 10th in the all-around at the P&G Championships three weeks ago.
Orozco delivered on his best events — high bar and parallel bars — and was sturdy enough on pommel horse to earn a Rio berth.
“If you can hear me mom,” Orozco said, “I love you.”
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