It’s a devil’s bargain, really. When you look at John Young, you notice his stature. He is a little person, born 50 years ago with dwarfism. This is, of course, only a very small part of who he is. A local teacher, and an avid triathlete, John came to the conclusion at some point that he would and could do bigger things with his life than anyone’s first glance at him might have suggested were possible. To us, the main thrust of John’s work and message is that he is an athlete first, a guy pushing his own boundaries before he thinks about inspiring other people to push theirs.
But that’s what he does. He has a lot of fans, both within the LP community and outside of it. This is the devil’s bargain part, wanting to move past people’s preconceived notions of himself to become just another athlete, and also recognize, that in doing so, he can be an inspiration for other little people.
How do you shake off one narrow definition of yourself and also allow that definition to stand, as an example for others?
The answer we get from observing John is that you just go about the work. You train. You prepare. You race. You take care of your end of the bargain, and then let other people draw what they will from it. Just doing it, if you’ll excuse the borrowed phrase, is how to answer those who would judge you AND to inspire those who have endured those same judgements.
He finished his first Ironman on October 1st of this year.
We were proud to build John a bike, but he was going to achieve what he has achieved whether we were involved or not. He did not need a custom bike. A custom bike just made him faster and more comfortable than he was going to be.
He is, after all, an athlete.
Images: 1) Mindy Randall 2) Brunswick/Schiffman