05/09/2013 12:33 pm ET Updated May 09, 2013

Runner Leonel Manzano On The Sacrifices That Led Him To The Olympic Podium


Olympic Glory! Spectators only see a glimpse of an entire life; three minutes and 34 seconds, speed over the finish line and nab an Olympic medal! But there are few that see the work, the sacrifice and the daily personal struggle of these athletes. How is it that a small 5’5” man who hails from a small village in central Mexico that once upon a time had no running water or electricity is able to achieve his Olympic dream and become the first North American person to win a silver medal in the men’s 1500 meters since Jim Ryun in 1968?

From a small farming community in central Mexico, my family immigrated to the United States in search of a better life in a small town in Texas. Growing up in an agriculturally-based society based on hard work, my parents had no idea what sports were or the doors participation in sports could open for me. They felt I was wasting my time in track and, given our meager means, didn’t have the extra money for running shoes or running gear that I needed.

Read more on NBC Latino