Anchorage wrestler overcomes birth defect to win Triple Crown
This May, Anchorage’s Holden Dufour wrestled his way to a Triple Crown at the Alaska State Wrestling tournament. That means Dufour won Freestyle, Greco and Folkstyle state championships.
"When I won the last match I was like freaked out,” said 9-year-old Holden Dufour.
An emotional victory for his family as well.
"I think we were all in tears when he won the Triple Crown," said Holden’s mother Tiffany Dufour.
To understand the weight of his accomplishment you have to go back to Holden’s birth when he was diagnosed with a rare birth defect known as Fibular Hemimelia that causes his left leg to grow at a slower rate than his right.
"He spent his whole life not seeing this as a disability, but seeing it as his situation, everyone has a situation his is just a little different,” said Tiffany Dufour.
Like any athlete Holden views his setbacks as motivation to make him a better wrestler.
"I don't feel like an underdog, but I know I am the underdog," said Holden.
These days the difference between his two legs is 3.5 inches, and presents future problems for the young wrestler.
"Running has become a bit more complicated, swimming has not, and he did give up soccer three years ago to start wrestling because that's where his heart was at," said Tiffany.
Future surgeries are inevitable for the 9-year-old.
"There is going to be a lot of rehabilitation and recovery involved in that, including physical therapy," said Tiffany.
There’s no guarantee Holden will ever be able to wrestle again, and that’s why his family is delaying surgeries until he’s done with one more year of wrestling.
Even though the future is uncertain, Holden still has goals of becoming an All-American college wrestler.