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Man who had to give up on Olympic dream due to tumor took charge of his life and became diving coach

He wanted to be an Olympic athlete and had the talent for it but his tumor had other plans. However, his persistence stood triumphant.

Man who had to give up on Olympic dream due to tumor took charge of his life and became diving coach
Cover Image Source: YouTube/ESPN

Life brings several ups and downs and it is up to us to be resilient and keep going. One of the biggest life lessons is that nothing lasts forever. There is always a silver line and nothing explains it better than the life of diving coach Cliff Devries. Life had been brutal to him but his persistence led the way to making him one of the most inspirational persons in the world. Having big dreams and much motivation, Cliff Devries worked hard towards his love and hobby: swimming. From his youth, he had been exceptional in his swimming and he was only getting better. 


 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Cliff Devries (@clifforddevries)


 

 

He built dreams of becoming a swimmer and participating in the Olympics. His talent and determination were commendable and he surely had a shot to turn this dream into a reality. However, life is not just roses and Devries started to have one of the most painful and career-breaking setbacks of his life. In his early youth, he began to have shoulder abnormalities. He felt weakness and that soon took center focus and affected his performance. The Reporter mentioned that he was so good at swimming that he earned a scholarship to the University of Kentucky. 


 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Cliff Devries (@clifforddevries)


 

 

Due to his failing health and weakness, his performance deteriorated and he lost his scholarship. This was one of the first crashing blows to his career and dreams. With the discomfort persisting, Devries decided to seek medical help. The report stated that Devries had a big tumor in his spine and the doctors said that he wouldn’t make it. Devries said, “It took the breath out of me. All these plans of a future, a family, everything was wiped away, it was gut-wrenching.” What followed was a hectic surgery in New York which left bleak hopes for survival for Devries. The article mentioned that it was tough for Devries to move a finger let alone dive. He said there were times he wanted to die. 



 

 

However, every bad phase comes to an end. Devries persisted in his will to live and worked hard towards it. He sought therapy, exercise, medication and all that he needed to back up his feet. Soon, he was able to start standing and eventually walking a few steps with the help of a stick. That’s when he decided to turn the page and not close the book of his life. After much trial, he acquired a job as a swimming coach at Rochester Institute of Technology and things went forward. He achieved milestones in his career as a coach and director of swimming. However, the passion to make the dive himself remained incomplete and it always stayed at the back of his head.


 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Upstate NY Diving (@upstatediving)


 

 

When you persist, you rewrite your own stories. And that’s what Devries did. With the help of his team and staff, he made a change in his book of life. On his 46th birthday, he went up the diving board and jumped into the moment he had been waiting for all his life and he hasn't stopped since. Every year, he takes his painstaking yet heartfelt attempt to dive into the water. It is not professional, it is not beautiful and perfect but it is the most triumphant jump ever made from that diving board. No second thoughts, just the water, his supporters and his dream. The semi-paralysis that remains couldn't stop Devries from revamping his dream to make a triumphant dive. 



 

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