SA native heads to Olympics
6-time Paralympic medal winner will attend as guest of Michelle Obama
SAN ANTONIO - When the plane carrying First Lady Michelle Obama leaves for the Olympic opening ceremonies in London next week, a San Antonio man will be on the flight.
Gabriel Diaz DeLeon has been invited to go the games as a guest of Mrs. Obama.
"I was chosen by Mrs. Michelle Obama to be a part of her delegation for the opening ceremonies of the Olympic games," said De Leon.
When he first got the call, he was asked for his date of birth and his social security number, a couple of questions that raised a red flag.
"I was like, 'Oh crap, what did I do?’" DeLeon said.
DeLeon previously represented his country as a corporal of the U.S. Army and as a medal winner in the Paralympic games.
DeLeon was injured in 1984 when the convoy he was riding with was ambushed near the Nicaraguan border. The jeep he was riding in was hit and then flipped, throwing DeLeon out on his neck.
He became an instant quadriplegic.
“Disabilities don't discriminate," he said.
He has turned a bad situation into something positive, winning one gold, one silver and four bronze medals in five different Paralympic games.
That determination and success has now earned him a trip of a lifetime.
"We’ve come a long way to the point where (Paralympic athletes) are being recognized," he said. "To me, that means a lot."
DeLeon no longer competes but still coaches.
Now, he will have a new motivational story.
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