London Olympics Hometown Heroes: Travis Stevens
LONDON (WHDH) -- What do you get when you mix extreme strength with total tunnel-vision determination? You get judo great Travis Stevens.
Stevens trains in Wakefield and on Tuesday he will compete in the 81 kilogram men’s competition at the London Olympics.
Stevens is right back where he wants to be -- on the Olympic stage. The 26 year old placed 9th in the 2008 Olympics, but his goal is simple -- be the best judo competitor in the world.
“It’s the most physical of all the martial arts. We physically grab each other,” said Stevens. “It’s a physical contest as much as it is to do with technique…It’s that physical-ness I like.”
Stevens has an unbreakable determination.
“I’m willing to wake up every day regardless of how sore or tired I am. I get up and go to the gym. I get up and go to practice. I don’t take days off,” said Stevens.
Stevens grew up in Tacoma, Wash. and got into judo when he was 7 years old.
“I got started by accident when I was younger. I accidentally signed up for it at the local youth center when I was a kid, trying to sign up for football and then I fell in love with the competitiveness at a young age and stuck with it,” said Stevens.
He went to college in California, but now spends all his waking hours in Jimmy Pedro’s Judo Center in Wakefield, Mass.
“I’ve been to every national training center in the world and I’ve been through their program and it’s a joke compared to what I go through every day,” said Stevens.
He said he wants to succeed for himself, but also for others -- especially his grandfather, who is his biggest hero.
“He was the guy who took me in at a young age, kept me focused on sports, to give me a passion in life. It meant a lot to him to see me not only succeed, but to have that drive to succeed and the passion to do it. It’s one of the reasons why I can push myself to the next level when I’m training, because I have that behind me,” said Stevens.
Stevens lost his grandfather while he was overseas at a competition, but he thinks his grandfather would understand. His grandmother made him a patch with his grandfather’s initials that he wears on his arm during all major competitions.