I cried myself to sleep at the Olympics, and won

 

Grown men from the Cape Flats aren’t meant to cry. If they do, they don’t admit it. But after Hilton Langenhoven came up short in his first event at the Paralympics this year, he cried himself to sleep – and said as much on international television. But two days later, his determination and refusal to stumble after failure saw him climb to the top step of the podium, claiming gold in the Long Jump at the 2016 Rio Paralympics.

Beating adversity has defined Langenhoven’s life. An albino with ten percent vision, he has had to fight for everything he has accomplished, battling both societal stigma and his disability. A natural athlete, he discovered his talent as a child when he broke his school’s record for the javelin. Since then, Langenhoven has won six gold and five silver medals in international competitions. At the 2008 Beijing games, he became the first South African to win gold in track and field after winning the Pentathlon, 200m and Long Jump events.

As one of South Africa’s best track and field athletes, Langenhoven’s career is proof that when ability and dedication come together any obstacle can be hurdled.