When Ezra arrived a few days late to start his 9th Grade year at Brentwood, I had a feeling something was up. He was probably at a speaking engagement, or organizing an Angel City Sports event somewhere. Little did I know, he was at one of the most prestigious, international, adult-level track and field competitions in the world...winning silver medals against grown men in not one but two events.
Ezra is 14 years old and no stranger to competition, but the Parapan American Games, a division of the Pan American Games for athletes with disabilities, took him to a whole different stratosphere. He and his teammates spent about two weeks at the end of August in Lima, Peru, where he competed in the high jump, long jump, and the 100-meter sprint. He had no expectations to medal in his events; in many ways, he was just happy to be there.
He says, “Competing at 14 against men who have been doing their sport for over 15 years was super scary, but I earned my spot.” During a three-month window of the current season, which began in March, Ezra had to compete in as many events as he could in order to hit a certain standard to be selected for the National Team. Once he did that, with flying colors, the entire team traveled to Peru. Over 1,800 athletes across 18 countries participated in 17 different sports and the USA placed second overall with 185 medals, two of which were Ezra’s.
Ezra has packed a lot into his 14 years. Born in May 2005 with congenital limb differences, he was missing his left knee and left fibula as well as fingers on his left hand. He got his first prosthetic leg at 11 months and was only four when he used a running leg for the first time. Since then, he’s tried and excelled at most every sport including basketball and swimming. His physical challenges have never held him back; they seem to have only propelled him forward.
“It was the most nervous I’ve ever been for a competition, but my 21-year old teammate encouraged me to do everything he did in training leading up to Peru, and it definitely paid off,” he said. “I’m so grateful and so hyped.”
Next up for Ezra is the World Championships in Dubai this November and his training regime is in full swing. He’s ranked 7th in the world going into this competition, and is already looking ahead to his prospects for the Tokyo Olympics in 2020. All signs point to more success for Ezra in the future and Brentwood is so proud to call him an Eagle!