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Colorado Springs, Colo. isn’t the final goal of Olympic hopeful and Owen County native Robert Beverly but it is an important stepping-stone.
Beverly, who racked up dozens of top Judo honors while competing for Owen County, is currently training at the United States Olympic Complex and is chasing his dream of a gold medal out west.
Olympic Coach Eddie Liddie recruited Beverly over the summer at the 2012 National Junior Olympics. He joined the OTC team Jan. 9 after completing his first semester at Jefferson Community College.
“This is a life-long dream,” Beverly said. “I have been training harder than I ever have in my life, five days a week. It’s very hard but I’m learning so much.”
For Beverly, the day begins before sunrise.
By 5:30 a.m., he is at the gym to lift weights and working on his core.
By 7:30 a.m., he is working a job in construction.
“My coach hooked me up with a job,” Beverly said. “It’s a lot of hard work and long days but I’m used to it. Charlie Mack and Larry Green used to work me pretty hard.”
At 5 p.m., Beverly goes to the Olympic complex for intense Judo training with some of the best in the sport.
Beverly visited the complex in August 2012 and the transition from Owen County to Colorado hasn’t been too difficult for Beverly but it has its own challenges.
In Colorado, he has access to the best equipment and facilities.
“There are a lot of differences,” Beverly said. “We have traditional Japanese mats designed for Judo. The (practice room) is totally dedicated to Judo and it’s about the size of a basketball court.”
But the biggest change Beverly has seen is the level of competition and dedication to the sport of Judo.
“These are the best the sport has to offer,” Beverly said.
The Owen County High School graduate is a frequent training partner with Myles Porter, who has won gold, silver and bronze medals in Judo tournaments across the globe.
Making it to the next level hasn’t intimidated Beverly. It has simply made him more determined to achieve his dream of representing the United States as a member of the Olympic Judo team.
“I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t think I could make it. I’m betting everything on this,” Beverly said. “I think my chances improve every day.”
Beverly said leaving home along with his friends and family has been difficult but he has no regrets.
“It has been hard at times but that’s what happens when you go after your dreams,” Beverly said. “ You have to make sacrifices when you go after what you want in life and you have to be willing to do that.”
Currently, Beverly has his sights set on the Junior World Championships in Miami, Fla. A strong showing at this competition could propel him into the Judo Top 25 and a shot at Olympic gold in 2016.
“This is a great opportunity for me, a real chance, and I plan on taking advantage of it,” Beverly said. “This is a chance to be ranked and go to the world tournament.”
Beverly has also been garnering the support of his friends, family and fans in Owen County.
Over the next few weeks, the Owen County Judo Team will be hosting an “Adopt-an-Athlete Hat Day” at each school to help with training expenses including uniforms, sweats, travel, and entry fees to local, national, and international events. Students will voluntarily pay $1 to wear a hat to school for the day. All proceeds will be sent in his name directly to USA Judo.
Individuals and businesses interested in helping out can send donations to Werner J. Walter, USA Judo, Olympic Training Center, One Olympic Plaza, Colorado Springs, Colo., 80909.