This week Todd Hodgetts, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, won the shot put gold medal in the London Paralympics, breaking the world record he set himself, and realizing his dream to be accepted and valued despite having a disability.
Bullied throughout his youth because of his large size and his disability, Hodgetts dreamed of putting his detractors in their place by achieving something great. Athletics became his one seeming avenue to that goal.
My faith has helped a great deal,” he says. “I came to realize that no matter what challenges I was faced with, I had divine potential which would allow me to overcome any obstacle people might throw at me.”
Hodgetts’ story appears in the September 8 issue of The Australian .
According to writer Margie McDonald, Todd competed with an injury to his elbow and amidst “grunting and gesturing” from his rival competitors.
“It was really painful,” Hodgetts said. “But I stuck to it and kept to the plan and believed in myself.”
The Australian also details the fact that Todd is the reigning world champion in his category, stating, “...the Launceston lad threw 16.24 metres to smash his own record on his third throw and 16.29 on his fourth to raise it again.”
Hodgetts is already raising the bar for himself. According to The Australian, he wants to go to next year’s International Paralympic Committee World Athletics Championships in France and then to the Rio de Janeiro Paralympics in 2016.
“I'm going to defend my title because I'm a champion. To be a legend you have to defend it twice, and I'll do anything to keep going.“
Hodgetts says that the Church’s practice of avoiding alcohol, tobacco, tea, coffee and non-prescription drugs greatly helps him hone his skills and fitness.