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Former Olympian plans to return after injury

By Dora Miller, Reporter, dmiller@ktxs.com
Published On: Dec 31 2013 08:50:50 PM CST
ABILENE, Texas -

A former Olympian, who suffered an injury in the 2012 London Games, is on the "road to recovery."

Leevan Sands, Jr. is ranked top eight in the world in triple jumping, but before he even went on to compete in the Olympics, he and his family always knew he had something special.

At the age of 15, he was already competing in the Caribbean's CARIFTA Games, winning gold the first time he stepped foot in the sand. After two Olympic Games, Beijing and London, the toll on his body took him out of the game.

He suffered a traumatic knee injury in the 2012 London Olympics.

"It hurt every now and then, but this time it was different...the very first jump, it landed kinda funny off my step from jumping in the pit, it felt kinda funny," Sands said. "I said you know forget this knee, you know it's gonna have to fall off, it's gonna have to break today. I said that and that's exactly, that's what happened."

Hendrick Health Club fitness trainer Levi Pate said the mindset of athletes trying to get back into the game can be hard to change, but it takes determination.

"Mentally, having an injury...it's very devastating. It's a setback and trying to come from a setback it takes a lot of willpower and a lot of heart," Pate said.

Which is what Sands said athletes like him have to have to perform in the Olympics, injury or not.

"You know, they see you make it to the Olympics, but they don't know, some people don't know how hard it is to make it," Sands said. "You got millions of people trying to qualify for the Olympic Games."

Sands also said even though he's 32 years old, there's nothing that will stop him from competing in the Olympics again.