Stories of suicide caused by bullying prevail in the news today. Young people that cannot find help or a sense of purpose, who find no other way out. Children lost who never dare to dream. There are those, though, that fight through the worst to become the best. Anthony Basil Watson is an elite athlete on his way to the Olympics, an accomplished musician – and a survivor.
Anthony Watson’s story of determination and resiliency – against bullying, poverty and learning disabilities - has brought hope to children and adults internationally. Anthony is a 2018 Olympic Skeleton hopeful on the Jamaican Bobsled Team. His father immigrated as a teenager to the United States from Jamaica, his mother from Puerto Rico. Anthony began his life watching his father work through difficult times in the U.S. due to his strong accent.
His parents worked hard to send Anthony and his three sisters to a religious school for as long as possible. Though a safe environment, Anthony was physically and verbally harassed beginning in elementary school and throughout high school for what was much later found out to be dyslexia. Anthony turned to sports and music as his way to escape his harsh reality.
And he found a way by petitioning to tryout at the U.S. Bobsled Team's combine, earning himself a spot to train with the team. He trained, he traveled, and he learned to race Skelton, a winter sliding sport in which a single person rides a small sled, known as a skeleton bobsled, down a frozen track while lying face down. But Anthony didn't want to be a "member" of the team. He wanted to be an Olympian. And, while at an international competition, he learned that he was eligible to compete with the Jamaican Bobsled Team because of his family's heritage.
Anthony now trains with the Jamaican team, but has been in Texas during his off-season, being treated by sports medicine doctors he met while in Jamaica to be at 100 percent as he moves into this Olympic year.
Anthony's story is not just about being an athlete. It isn't about how, even at an Olympic level. His story is about Hope. Dedication. Trust. And most definitely Perseverance.
Anthony’s story reminds us that elite athletes are not just who we see on TV with multi-million-dollar contracts. They are people like him, who tell their story to inspire and allow the next generation to realize they can dream.