Originally published on WSFL-TV 39 - June 25, 2021
A teenage martial artist from Hamilton hopes to make his mark and inspire others with disabilities as he goes out for the U.S. Paralympic team.
Austin Osner, 15, is a Taekwondo champion who just placed third in an international competition. He started studying martial arts when he was younger to learn self-defense and discipline. However, Austin tackles the sport differently than others.
Austin was born with part of his right arm missing due to amniotic band syndrome. However, the condition hasn't slowed him down, as he's earned awards at the state, regional and national levels.
"When I first started getting used to fighting with one arm, I was fighting people with two arms, and it never really bothered me," he said.
Austin trains three hours a day, five days a week while taking classes online through the Ohio Virtual Academy. He said his goal is to compete at the Paralympics.
"Whether that be Paris in '24 or Los Angeles in '28," Austin said. "If I could achieve that goal, I would be very happy with myself. I would be happy with all the work I've put in. That's when I know everything I've done the past five years have truly meant so much."
Now, Austin wants others with disabilities to know it's possible to win at the elite level.
"People look at disabilities differently," Austin said. "You know, as long as you maintain a good mindset, no one's going to stop you at the end of the day."
To learn more about Ohio Virtual Academy, visit ohva.k12.com