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United States Olympian David Smith was born with between 80 and 90 percent hearing loss. But his lack of hearing’s done nothing to prevent him from making noise on the volleyball court. Smith’s a three-time Olympian who starts for Team USA and serves as a role model for deaf children.
“Sports were definitely a confidence booster for me,” said Smith per Trib Live. “It was something I thrived at despite having quote unquote a disadvantage. I think for me personally, that was great for my mental understanding of who I am and what I can do, but I think it was also a unique way of me integrating myself with the normal hearing world.”
Growing up near Los Angeles, Smith used sports as a way to connect with kids of normal hearing: “Sports were definitely a confidence booster for me. It was something I thrived at despite having quote unquote a disadvantage,” Smith said. “I think for me personally, that was great for my mental understanding of who I am and what I can do, but I think it was also a unique way of me integrating myself with the normal hearing world.”
One of the world’s best volleyball players, Smith earned a scholarship to UC Irvine, currently plays professionally overseas and has represented the United States in three consecutive Olympics. His success, despite a disability has served as an inspiration for deaf children across the globe. He proudly embraces being thought of us a role model: “I think sometimes so many people see hearing loss as a disability and that’s all they see and that becomes the center of their thought process,” he said. “So you’re thinking about what you can’t do instead of what you can do. Being able to demonstrate that is one of the most rewarding things. Being able to be a real time influence in a real time inspiration to the next generation has been real cool.”
As a fellow deaf and hearing aid user, it thrills me to see someone similar to me on such a big stage and achieving what that want in life!
— bookmovietvworm (@bookmovietvworm) July 26, 2021
Regardless of how Team USA finishes the Tokyo Games, Smith will head home a winner.