Heed took a moment to chat with U.S. National Champion, John Orozco, the United States Olympic representative for gymnastics, in the 2012 London Summer Olympics. John Orozco got his career in gymnastics started at a very early age, and has already solidified himself as a strong contender. He talked to us about his life in the Bronx, his reaction to making the Olympics, and what he’s doing now!

John’s father first introduced him to the sport of gymnastics, and he started practicing from a very young age. A Bronx native, Orozco expressed that, “Early on, I didn’t feel like I fit in anywhere. I didn’t feel like I fit in the gymnastics world because of being from the Bronx & my surroundings… and I didn’t feel like I fit in the Bronx because of being so involved with the gymnastics world”.  Despite these feelings, and an injury that could have ended his career, Orozco persisted with his dreams and aspirations. In 2010, he tore his Achilles tendon at the 2010 National Finals. It was during his fifth event, the vault, when the injury happened. The devastating injury required surgery and ended his competition at his first senior nationals. That, however, would not be the end of his gymnastic career, as he came back stronger than ever the following year in 2011, making it to the World Team which led to his eventual selection for the 2012 London Summer Olympics.


“It was like a dream come true! I had been working so many years toward that goal… I don’t know how to explain it… I can’t even describe it!” Orozco went on to describe the experience as surreal, and told Heed that he reflected on his family. “I was glad that I didn’t let my family down.” This experience also taught him the values of working hard towards a goal, despite any hardships. “I would tell other people having difficult times… constantly remind yourself of what your ultimate goals are. When things get hard, it’s easy to lose faith. You don’t want to miss out on your big opportunities or wonder what sorts of accomplishments you gave up, because you gave up in the middle of your journey.” 

Last month, John participated in the 2014 Progressive Skating & Gymnastics Spectacular, alongside some of the brightest and most talented athletes from the figure skating and gymnastics world, as well as some of the most popular Disney Channel stars! He was contacted for this opportunity and jumped at it because, “it looked like fun!” This week, John Orozco competed in his first national competition of the year at the Houston National Invitational. This World Medalist and U.S. Champion is continuing with his trainings, and plans to compete in additional gymnastics events in the near future, including the 2014 AT&T National Cup, airing March 1st on NBC!

For Updates and to stay connected to John check him out on Twitter, Facebook, and on Instagram!

Check out John’s performance at the 2014 Houston National Invitation a few days ago!

All Photos © 2014 Michael Thomas