Q&A With Myles Porter:
Paralympic Silver Medalist Aims to Fight Fully-Sighted
March 13, 2013 – Paralympian Myles Porter took a silver medal at the Games in London over the summer, adding to the greatest Olympic and Paralympic showing by a U.S. Judo Team in history.
Now, this visually-impaired athlete is returning to competition with a mission: to fight in the fully-sighted brackets on the world stage. Preparing to leave for an important qualifying tournament in South America this weekend, Porter, 100 kg (NYAC/U.S. Olympic Training Center, Colorado Springs, CO), took a few minutes to answer questions from USA Judo:
USA Judo: For a lot of elite athletes headed to Uruguay and Argentina, they’re putting a proverbial “toe back in the water” at these Continental Opens (formerly called World Cups), but you stand to make history. Can you tell us about what you are fighting for at these competitions?
Myles: The biggest thing I'm fighting for is to show everyone that I can hang with the great U.S. players we have, as well as the greatest international players, visually impaired or fully sighted. And this is a great opportunity for USA judo to showcase Paralympic judo. If I do well in Uruguay and Argentina, which are both tournaments for fully-sighted athletes, I could qualify for USA Judo’s Pan American team and the World Team. I would be the first U.S. Paralympic athlete to do that.
USA Judo: This is your first major tournament since taking the silver medal at the Paralympic Games in London. So, what have you been doing since?
Myles: After the Games in London I took a little time off to support my fiancé, as she is going back to school. I turned into, and I still am, Suzy Homemaker. It’s been nice! I also took time to get myself ready for this quad (four-year Olympic cycle), picking Eddie's brain, as well as Ryan Reser's on what it will take to make the next step in my career. (Eddie Liddie and Reser are Myles’ coaches. Liddie is USA Judo’s Director of High Performance).
USA Judo: Other than a silver medal in London, what is the most important thing you brought home from the Paralympic Games?
Myles: Well, I brought home a lot of pictures since my parents couldn't make it, and my brother, who’s in the military, was out on a mission. The coolest thing I brought back, though, was the Order of Ikkos Award for my training partner, Iavor Kostadinov, at the U.S. Olympic Training Center. That’s a really special award given by the USOC. As a Paralympic medalist, I got to choose someone to receive it, someone who gave just as much as I did for me to pursue my goals.
USA Judo: The 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro are a long way off, but are you thinking about it now?
Myles: Yes, it's also on my mind, to be honest. The training center here (in Colorado Springs) has a saying "It's every day, not every four years." We have a young, talented team here, and I want to just work hard and be an inspiration to them and other young athletes all around the country. The training, of course, is intense. It makes a big difference to be getting financial support from the USOC and USA Judo. It really makes what I do a lot less stressful, a lot easier to focus on training and trying to make history. I can't wait to see what happens in the next four years, as USA judo is doing a great job pushing Paralympic judo to the mainstream.
USA Judo: Is there anything you are changing about your training strategy since London?
My training has changed for the better, as I've gotten smarter about my body, what works for me, as well as having goals of getting on the podium at all these international tournaments. Before, I was just happy to be there. I've only been doing judo seven years, and I was still just awe struck. Now, it’s different. Since winning silver at the Paralympics, I want more. A lot more.
USA Judo: You’ve talked about how close you are to your brother in the military. Where is he now and how do you stay in touch?
Myles: He was able to watch me at the Games. He told me his whole unit watched me fight at their base. He was going crazy. He and I are close. We push each other. And even though we don't see each other very often, we text and talk all the time. We talk a lot of trash – call it brotherly love!