One of the great things about high-level sports is you can pretty much count on great stories coming out of the competition. That’s true even if you haven’t followed the sport closely enough to know them reflexively. It’s one of the things that makes the Olympics appealing to a wide audience.
The subject of the video interview we did for this blog post might be one of those stories that absorb you as you watch the goings-on in Tokyo next summer. Jenson Van Emburgh carries a rating of 2035 in his sport, para table tennis. That’s really good, world-class even. As he mentions in the interview, Van Emburgh comes in as favorite to win his event in the Seamaster US Open, going on through Saturday at the Fort Worth Convention Center. He’s the defending champion.
The 19-year-old’s sport helped him go from a kid figuring how to adapt to life in his wheelchair to a U.S. medal hopeful for next year’s Paralympics in Japan. He’s rated ninth in the world after winning medals in recent competitions in China and Peru, and will go to Tokyo if he maintains his ranking.
His mom, Tracey, traveled with him from Florida to Fort Worth. His father, Greg, is a former professional tennis player who now coaches at Florida Southern. His brother, Jake, plays collegiate tennis at Oklahoma. You can bet if Jenson makes it to his sport’s premier (and well-covered by TV) competition, you’ll hear more of his story. Visit the Fort Worth Convention Center over the next few days if you want to get a head start on the table tennis (and wrestling, which holds its USA Wrestling Senior Nationals there Friday-Sunday) narratives.