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Santos hoping to inspire others while running leg on torch relay


07-29-2016 15:52 BJT

Full coverage: 2016 Rio Olympics

In a week, the final stage of the Torch Relay will occur, as the cauldron will be lit at the Maracana Stadium. There are still several legs of that run to take place, and all those chosen to for the journey have a special story, as well as an Olympic dream.

He wears number 21 for his team, and the smallest player in the game rarely fails to leave a huge imprint on the contest. Despite being short in stature -- just 1.27 meters, or about four-feet, one-inch tall -- Gabriel Amorim Santos stands shoulder to shoulder with his peers, and the skills of this man born with dwarfism have earned him the nickname the "Mini-King of Football."

"I want to prove that a person with dwarfism can do anything. If I could choose, I would not change anything about my life. I know I am shorter than most people, but that does not stop me from doing anything. My experience can encourge people and let them know that they can overcome limitations," Santos said.

His father says Gabriel loved sports as a youngster, and despite being protective of his son because of his size, he did not stop him from participating in athletic competition. In fact, he believes this helped his son.

"After he was born, the doctor said he should not participate in sports till he was older, like seven or eight. But we still enrolled him in school, hoping that being active would help his bones grow. Sports really helped him. Now he has been elected as a torchbearer, as the flame passes through our city. This is big honor for our family," said Severino Santos, Gabriel's father.

Gabriel's enthusiasm embodies the Olympic spirit, and that is why he was chosen as torchbearer for the Rio Games. In the future the 18-year-old wants to earn a living traveling, but his first opportunity will be taking part in this trek, with this flame.

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