As a former high school athlete, I can appreciate the effort that millions of kids throughout the country put forth every day. I'm sure many of them dream of becoming a professional athlete, but to many, it's only a dream. We've been fortunate in the MA Fat Woman's family to be around a young man that has dreams of the Olympics and beyond.
Antonio Blanks is his name, or Tonio for short and his sport is Track and Field. Tonio is an up and comer in the Track world and has been setting records since he was a freshman at Dunbar High School in Dayton, Ohio. He recently completed his junior year and went to the State Championships in four events. He won the 300M hurdles and is now state champ. Isn't that amazing? I threw the shot and discus back in the day and missed going to the District finals by two inches in the shotput. Even if I would have made it to the District, I would still had to have gone to the Regionals and won there, before I made it to the State Championships.
Tonio is a personable young man that loves to laugh, eats Mambos candy and munches on fresh fruit by the gallon. Needless to say, he is tall and lean. His coaches have asked him several times to anchor various relays and to watch his kick on the back stretch is just breathtaking. If ever there was a 'natural', Tonio seems to have it. (Whatever it is?)
Tonio already has his eye on the future: He wants to be an engineer and build things. He' s an A student and has the grades to get a full academic ride wherever he wants to go. (Oh, yeah, don't forget the full athletic scholarship too!)
Antonio Blanks, remember the name and remember you heard it here first! Watch out Rio de Janeiro, host of the 2016 Olympics, the MA Fat Woman and her family are heading your way!
********That was then; this is now**********
I wrote this story about Tonio in 2010 and just wanted to update that he is a freshman at Ohio State, finished 7th in the NCAA Championships, and, in turn, made him eligible for the 2012 Olympic Trials, in Eugene, Oregon, later this week. How cool is that?
Here's a quote from Tonio that ran in the Columbus Dispatch: “I’m treating it like another meet,” said Blanks, a freshman from Dayton who finished seventh at the NCAA championships. “I don’t know what’s going on; I’m just running. I don’t have anything to lose.”
Amen, to that! Run fast, young man; we'll be watching!
********That was then; this is now***********
Four years have passed and Tonio graduated with a Bachelor's Degree from THE Ohio State University. He had a wonderful senior year racing and once again made it to the NCAA Championships in Eugene, Oregon in the 400M Hurdles where he concluded his collegiate career as an ALL-AMERICAN. All I can say is OUTSTANDING!
Once again, Tonio has been fast enough to receive an invitation to the 2016 Olympic Trials in Oregon and we wish him all the best.
Pictured above are Tonio and his new wife, Jewelisa in their new hometown, Atlanta. Both have secured new jobs and are beginning new lives in our wonderful state.
I know you won't let the heat get to you, young man, and whatever happens, we're very proud of you!
And as always: RUN, TONIO, RUN!