A recent graduate of the University of Hartford took to the track for a 5,000 meter run at the Paralympic Games in Rio.
Friends and family of Chaz Davis gathered on Thursday to cheer him on from the UHart campus in West Hartford.
Davis lost his vision three years ago because of a rare, incurable disease.
Whether they knew him from school or heard about him this semester, it didn't matter.
Davis, a distance runner who recently graduated from UHart, was the big man on campus; though, on a screen in the university commons.
Dozens of students and staff also watched him compete.
Davis said he wasn't going to let his loss of sight stop or even slow him.
"Seeing him actually come back faster, before he lost his vision, it's crazy," said Rourk Marlow, a former teammate and friend.
His supporters anxiously watched as the race neared its end. He trailed the leaders.
His place, however, didn't matter to his UHart family. They said his success in Rio is a win regardless.
Davis finished 8th, five spots behind his ultimate goal.
"Sometimes it’s not the big goals, sometimes it's the mini goals," said Myles Mabry, a friend. "My man is in Rio, having a good time.”
"[I'm] just excited [and] proud," Marlow said. "I’m proud of him. I’ve seen how hard he's worked to be here and it's great.”
Two other Connecticut athletes also competed in the Paralympic Games.
Colleen Young of Fairfield University won bronze in the 100 meter backstroke.
Jaclyn Smith, an alum of Sacred Heart University, is competing in crew.
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