Blind Judo World Champion
Dartanyon was born in inner-city Cleveland, OH. Born with optic neuropathy, he has been severely nearsighted his entire life. Despite his disability, Dartanyon was a league champion high school wrestler. During Dartanyon’s final year of high school, he and his friend, Leroy Sutton were featured on ESPN. After Dartanyon’s first appearance on ESPN, many doors opened for him, not the least of which was an opportunity to train as a U.S. Paralympian in the sport of judo.
He ended his illustrious career as a London 2012 and Rio 2016 Paralympic Bronze medalist and 2014 World Champion. During Dartanyon’s time as an elite athlete, he also served as a U.S. Athlete Envoy for the U.S. State Department. His mission took him to Turkmenistan, where he worked to strengthen the relationship between the U.S. and Turkmenistan through the power of sport and break the stigma of surrounding blindness in this part of the world.
Dartanyon is finishing a degree in Sociology with a minor in social work. He is studying the correlation between meaningful connections and the success of traditional underdogs and enjoys sharing his expertise with audiences around the world.
With over 4,000 people assembled at the World Arena, one could hear a pin drop as Dartanyon shared his powerful story.