Many people who are hard of hearing have achieved amazing successes in sporting fields. We previously shared five inspiring athletes who didn’t let their hearing loss stand in the way of achieving sporting greatness.
Now here are five more champions who have not let hearing loss interfere with their sporting dreams.
Russian skier Elena Yakovishina competed at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. Yakovishina, who races wearing hearing aids, says her dream is to win the Olympic title. “I’ll keep on going until the next Olympic Games in South Korea.” She also credits her hearing aids with her balance. “It’s so different skiing with hearing aids, it’s good for balance. You hear things differently: the wind, your skis, everything. Without them I can ski, but not as well.”
Two-time U.S. Olympic diver Chris Colwill was born with 60% hearing loss in both ears. Since he can’t wear his hearing aid when diving, he relies on the scoreboard to know when it’s his turn to go.
Born with a hearing deficiency in both ears, Tamika Catchings developed a speech impediment and grew up being teased by other young children until one day she threw her hearing aid away. To teach her a lesson, her parents refused to buy her a new one. So she threw herself into physical pursuits, becoming a stronger and more impressive basketball player. In 2011 she was MVP in the WNBA and has won three consecutive gold medals at the 2004, 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games.
Since his early youth, Tony Ally suffered from a genetic hearing loss. Nonetheless, at the age of 16 he became a professional diver going on to win the 1999 European Championships, and taking part in 4 Olympic Games in 1988, 1996, 2000 and 2004.
Born with hearing loss in one ear, Marie lost hearing in her other ear during her childhood after contracting meningitis. She choreographed her gymnastics routines to songs with heavy bass in order to feel the floor vibrations and in 1984 she became an alternate gymnast for the U.S. women’s gymnastics team.
American football player Derrick Coleman began losing his hearing at around three years old. Without his hearing aids in, Coleman can only hear about 20% of what the average person hears. With his hearing aids in, it’s about 60% – 80%. Coleman was thrust into the spotlight in 2014 when his team the Seattle Seahawks won that year’s Super Bowl. As the first deaf offensive player in the NFL, he became a champion for people with hearing loss when a Duracell ad, in which he starred, went viral. Coleman’s advice, “The hardest thing about being in the deaf community is getting over wall one. Just trust the power within and do what you want to do. That’s basically what I’m doing.”