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Winter Games Motivates UA Paralympic Hopeful

FAYETTEVILLE, AR -- A Russian native and UA student says watching the Winter Olympics play out in his home country motivates him to reach that level by the summer of 2016.
FAYETTEVILLE, AR -- A little more than a week remains before the winter games get underway in Russia.

But intense training is already underway for one Russia native, and current University of Arkansas student, whose hoping to compete in the 2016 Paralympic games.

"Swim, train, and just be prepared," swimmer Nathan Whitten says.

It's just like clockwork for this future Michael Phelps.

"I'm just more excited just about the journey and just to see where this is going to take me," Whitten says.

One might say his journey includes a swim against the current..

The 21-year-old was born with only six fingers, and one of them was removed in surgery shortly after moving to the United States.

"So I was able to be mobile and be able use it," Whitten says.

"And I also I was born with a minor form of dwarfism, but more Rickets where my thighs kind of go at an angle."

The decision to pursue a spot in the pool next to some of the world's best Paralympic athletes came in April 2012.

Since then, the preparation has been nonstop.

"Trying to do research and trying to figure out what it takes to get into that spectrum," Whitten says.

He trains six days a week while balancing classes and a job.

Pages in a binder outline his routine before every practice.

Next week's winter sport spectacle provides even more motivation.

"Besides the Olympics being in Russia where I was born...it's kind of cool to see there are other athletes out there who are just as dedicated," Whitten says.

"If these people can do it there's no reason why I shouldn't be able to do it."

A motto that could make waves and lead to a few medals.
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