15 Inspiring Olympic Athletes Who Will Make This Year's Games An Absolute Joy To Watch

olympic track star lolo jones

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

One of the best parts about the Olympics every four years is the amazing back stories of the many athletes.Whether it’s escaping tough upbringings, battling physical or emotional ailments, or even escaping war-torn countries, these athletes haven’t let anything get in their way.

All of them are hoping their will to persevere will help them stand at the medal podiums in London in a few weeks.

Carrie Johnson won't let Chron's disease — a debilitating and incurable digestive disorder — ruin her Olympic rowing dreams for the U.S. team

Source: Everyday Health

Double amputee Oscar Pistorius will run in the 400-meters for South Africa. He's the first amputee runner to participate in the Olympics

Source: Oscar Pistorius

Nur Suryami Mohd Taibi may be several months into her pregnancy, but she still plans to compete in rifle shooting for Malaysia

Source: Huffington Post

John Orozco is on the verge of gymnastics stardom after growing up in a rough area of Bronx, N.Y. and overcoming some serious family health problems

Source: Metro UK

Serge Ibaka is one of the stars on Spain's national basketball team. Growing up in Congo, he endured his mother's death, father's imprisonment and living in a war-stricken country

Source: News OK

Sprinter Maziah Mahusin is the first female athlete from the small Islamic nation of Brunei to ever go to the Olympics

Source: TIME

U.S. hurdler Lolo Jones grew up very poor. Even going so far as stealing TV dinners so she and her siblings could eat

Source: HBO

U.S. long distance runner Lopez Lomong was kidnapped in order to be turned into a Sudanese child soldier when he was only six-years-old

He escaped by running three days and three nights to a refugee camp in Kenya.

Source: FOX Sports

Trevor Barron took up race walking after swim coaches feared his severe form of epilepsy would someday cause him to drown

Now he hopes to become the first American to medal in race walking since 1972.

Source: NYT

Caster Semenya has had to go through years of nasty and hateful accusations that she's not really a woman

Determined to keep competing, she's undergoing hormone therapy so her elevated testosterone levels match that of other female runners.

Source: The Atlantic

Gymnast Danell Leyva probably would've never achieved his dreams had he and his mother not defected from Cuba to the U.S. when he was just a little boy

Source: ESPN

South Korean archer Im Dong Hyun wants to add a few more gold medals (has two already) even though he's legally blind

Source: The Telegraph

American boxer Rau'Shee Warren is one of the few who's been able to escape the poverty and struggles in Cincinnati's Westwood area, let alone reach the Olympics

Source: WaPo

For Jamaican sprinter Yohan Blake, escaping the poverty he grew up in has been a major driving force

Source: TIME

BONUS: Qatar will send women to the Olympics for the first time. They include shooter Bahiya Al-Hamad, swimmer Nada Arkaji (pictured) and sprinter Noor al-Malki

Source: CNN

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