That record led him to his first Junior Olympics in Houston, Texas, this week. He is representing Georgia with the TriCity Striders Youth Track & Field Team.
However, he wasn’t always athletic. His mother, Leeann Hannan, said Jonathan reached amen’s medium size when he was in the fourth grade. As Jonathan struggled with obesity, his mother suggested football as a solution. But he didn’t enjoy the sport.
Jonathan explored running after some encouragement from a former high school principal. He started running track in the seventh grade.
A year later, the teen lost most of the weight.
“I am really proud of him,” Hannan said.
Hannan said her son is a “pasta eater” who also enjoys steak.
“For track, all you need to eat is pasta and steak.” she said. “It’s really good for him to be a runner because he can still eat his favorite foods.”
Hannan also thinks track helped Jonathan raise his self-esteem and make friends.
“I don’t think he will ever stop,” she said.
After three years of practice, Jonathan secured a spot to compete at the AAU Junior Olympic Games. He thinks he is more confident because of the weight loss, and said track also gives him motivation to focus more on school work.
“I’m excited and nervous at the same time,” Jonathan said.
But the competition is a new experience.
“It is nerve-wrecking to think that you are going to be versus so many people,” he said.
Spivey Green, the head coach of TriCity Striders Youth Track & Field Team, thinks Jonathan is a “special young warrior.”
Green has high hopes for the teen and he expects the track runner to bring the first-place medal home from the Junior Olympics.
“One day we will hear about him much more than we are doing now, because he has that competitive nature to actually go out there and compete,” he said.
The Junior Olympic Game started Monday and runs through Aug. 6.
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