Who is... John Orozco
Just a teenager at the London Olympics, U.S. gymnast John Orozco didn't have the competition he was hoping for. He walked away without any medals, but did gain the lasting sense of pride from representing Team USA--and the hunger to get another shot at Olympic glory in Rio.
"As a kid I was really weird. Like, I wanted to be an actor. I wanted to be a dancer. I wanted to be a singer. I wanted to be a gymnast. I wanted to be a newscast reporter. I wanted to be everything. But I knew that gymnastics was definitely one of my passions that I wanted to pursue. And I had a lot of energy. But I wasn't very open. I was very shy. But if you told me to do something physical I could do it. And I would love it."
Growing up in the New York City borough of the Bronx, Orozco was an active child, getting his black belt in taekwondo before starting gymnastics at age 8. His career in the sport began when his father came across a flier for a free gymnastics lesson at a club in Manhattan.
"I remember running in and starting to tumble before the coach even told me anything," Orozco said. "After the tryout the owner of the gym called my parents into the office and told them I had tremendous talent."
Soon after, he started seriously training at a different gym, World Cup Gymnastics, in Chappaqua, New York. About an hour away from his family's home, his mother Damaris would drive him each way to practice six or seven days a week. As the family struggled to financially support Orozco's gymnastics career, young Orozco started working around the gym to fund his training. His coaches also helped, partially waiving the cost of lessons so he could keep training.
In 2010, Orozco moved to Colorado Springs, Colo. to train with the men's national team and live at the Olympic Training Center.
"Growing up in the Bronx was very difficult for me and my family. We didn't have a lot of money growing up. It was pretty rough neighborhood. And especially being a gymnast it was kind of hard because it's not something you see every day, especially in the Bronx. You get judged and you get teased a lot. But I always had my family to back me. So it made it that much easier. And I think that without them I wouldn't be here today."