Blind Houston woman to compete in judo event in 2012 Paralympics in London
HOUSTON (KTRK) -- A Houston woman who will compete at the 2012 Paralympics in London this summer won't be watching a single minute of any Olympic event -- not even the judo events she's competing in.
She won't be watching because she's blind. But Jordan Mouton is hoping the world will soon see her holding Olympic gold.
It's a sport custom-made for Houstonian Jordan Mouton. In judo, you don't need to see your partner, you need to feel them.
"It's all feeling," Jordan said. "A lot of people train with blindfolds on so they can get the feeling down."
Olympic Judo coach Eddie Liddie said, "What better sport is it than judo? Judo is all feel, all touch. It's just tailor-made for visually impaired athletes."
"It's hands on and I think that's why blind people are taking to it, because everything they do is hands on," said blind judo competitor Robert Deese.
Jordan grew up playing soccer, but began losing her sight at the age of eight to a rare disease called Rod Cone Dystrophy. By age 12, she was blind and her soccer playing days were over. That's when she became a wrestler at Cypress Falls High School, but the athlete in her needed more.
"I went to sports camp for blind individuals and they introduced me to judo," she explained. "I took right to it because it's aggressive and I am an aggressive person."
Two years later, Jordan was good enough to qualify for a spot on the Paralympic team in Beijing in 2008. Last weekend, despite injuries that have kept her off the mat for three months, she won a spot on this year's Paralympic team at the 2012 Summer Games in London.
Jordan and her teammates insist their blindness actually gives them an acute sense of touch that sighted athletes don't have.
Jordan said, "We fight against sighted people and we beat them all the time."
"Sometimes sighted people come out cocky because they are fighting a blind person," said blind judo competitor Crystella Garcia. "But their tune gets changed."
Coach Liddie explained, "My visually impaired train with able-bodied guys trying to go to Olympics. We all train together."
To those who are handicapped and think they can't do it, these blind athletes joke they will see you at the Olympics.
"You can't give up," Jordan said. "If you give up on one thing in life you are just going to keep giving up and you're never going to make it to where you want to go so... be strong enough and push your way through it."
The 2012 Paralympics will be begin on August 29 and run through September 9. You can find out more information at the Team USA Paralympics website.
local, tom koch
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