JOHN OROZCO: The 19-Year-Old Gymnast Pursuing Olympic Glory To Give His Family A Better Life

John Orozco U.S. Gymnast

Photo: YouTube

Men’s gymnastics never gets the same kind of attention as women’s gymnastics.But thanks to a young and hungry team, the U.S. men are poised to change that once the 2012 summer games get started in a few weeks.

Competing for the U.S. is 19-year-old Bronx, New York native John Orozco.

Despite growing up in a rough area and suffering through numerous family hardships, John has his sights set on achieving Olympic gold and using that platform to give his family a better life.

John Orozco is of Puerto Rican decent and grew up in Bronx, New York

John started doing gymnastics when he was 8 years old, after his father, William, saw a flyer for free lessons at a Manhattan gym

Source: The Daily

John was teased a lot for being a male gymnast in the Soundview area of the Bronx

Source: The Daily

Growing up in the Bronx was tough, John and his three older brothers were once attacked by 20-30 guys on the street while walking home from church

The altercation left one of John's brothers in the hospital for a few days.

John was only 10 years old at the time.

Source: CNN

His mother, Damaris, always drove him to his practices 30 miles away from home in Upstate New York even though she suffered from lupus and rheumatoid arthritis

Sources: The Daily and Denver Post

Source: Denver Post

The Orozco family was hit with another setback later that year (2007) when John's father suffered a stroke

John wanted to leave the U.S. Junior trials in California immediately and go home to see his father, but his mother didn't let him.

She told him his father would want him to finish the competition.

Orozco went on to win his first of three straight junior all-around titles.

Source: Denver Post

John moved to the Olympic training facility in Colorado Springs, Colorado in 2010 to focus on gymnastics full time

John made the decision to become a professional and forego his college eligibility in 2011

Source: Examiner

That wasn't the first time John starred in something, however. He was an extra in three episodes of Law & Order

Source: NBC

He's still not 100% healed from a serious Achilles tear suffered at the 2010 U.S. senior trials

Source: NBC

But John will go to London anyway after qualifying at the U.S. trials recently

Source: AP

John's ultimate goal is to make a good enough living through gymnastics to get his family out of the Bronx

Source: CNN

John isn't the only teenager hoping to make a big splash this summer...

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