- Posted December 21, 2013 by
Capturing the Human Spirit: Cortney Jordan
Cortney Jordan was born on June 24 (months too early). After birth she began her life with what the doctors told her parents was Cerebral Palsy. This condition took effect of her left side, specifically her left leg. Because of Cerebral Palsy, Cortey has felt constant pain due to one leg being permanently shorter than the other, creating tension in her back. Looking forward it is a life of pain and frustration one could say, but not Cortney. That’s not Cortney. During one visit to her doctor, it was suggested that she try swimming. Of course! What a perfect outlet given her grandfather, father and sister have all competed to the point in which I could safely say the Jordan family is one of the best swim families you’ll find, going back three generations.
The first time Cortney got in the pool, she was terrified. The only thing she could think of was the same condition causing her to stumble on ground would cause her to drown in the water. This feeling did not last long; as she had her family’s support the entire way through. Cortney would then begin her swimming career. It was a tough go at it, having to compete against able-bodied swimmers.
Flash forward to 2006. During a swim meet, Cortney met a paralympian who suggested she should try out for the world championship team. And that’s that. Her life would not be the same. Swim became much more to Cortney than an outlet, or something to give her a break from normal life. Swimming became a passion, an inspirational tool she could give the world, and a statement, one in which she could say to others suffering with disabilities, ‘do not be afraid’.
Cortney has not only inspired people while in the pool, but also has inspired through education. Consider a gym full of curious school children, wondering why there is a basketball hoop and a bunch of funny looking wheel chairs scattered over the floor. Cortney takes a child to a wheel chair and says ‘lets play’. Cortney has been there. Cortney could see the priceless looks on children's’ faces as they saw how hard it is to compete in sports as a disabled person. These children were changed forever as they understood no man or woman could be prevented from playing a sport because of a disability.
Cortney has been all over the world by now, having competed in multiple Olympic games, and World Championships. I asked her what was her favorite memory from her travels. Her answer surprised me, be touched me. She said, “I can’t tell you what my time was, say when I swam in Beijing, but what I can tell you what I remember is when my friend Jessica ran up to hug me when I got out of the pool and when we went to McDonald’s after to celebrate.
Cortney isn’t about winning medals and awards; she’s about touching others. Inspiring one person is worth far more than winning a race.