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West Valley third grader wins gold at Junior Olympics

C.J. Flowers won gold in the 200 Meter track and field race with a time of 28.64 seconds.

SURPRISE, Ariz. — A West Valley third grader has achieved his dream of winning gold at the 2022 USATF Junior Olympics.

12News first introduced viewers to C.J. Flowers while he was preparing for the Junior Olympics last summer. 

Even back then, the then 7-year-old was laser-focused on his mission to dominate his sport. With his father, Chris Flowers acting as his coach, the two would engage in early morning practices wherever they could.

“Practice was really kind of upside down because we started in with the COVID- with the pandemic,” explained Chris Flowers. “So, a lot of things were locked. We had to squeeze through gates and hop gates, and go to parks and it was tough, but we made it happen.”

Fast forward to late July 2022, C.J. has racked up medal after medal in local track events, even winning races in California and Georgia. But the USA Track and Field National Junior Olympic Track and Field Championships are a whole new level for C.J.

“I think he did a really good, you know, just the mentality of going out there with kids that you don't know,” Chris said. “And just laying everything on the line, this is stuff that we practice for. Not only do we practice for it, kind of preach it to him, so he can go out there and regurgitate it on the track, which he did. So, I'm very proud and happy about what he did up there.”

The results of all that hard work: Two silver medals and a gold medal. 

C.J. achieved a time of 28.64 seconds in the 200 Meter, earning a gold medal. Representing the Arizona Rising Sun, Flowers earned a silver medal in the 100 Meter, just .05 seconds behind Dailan Maples of Torrance, Calif. Flowers earned his second Silver Medal in the 400 Meter.

“A lot of people just see C.J., and they say, ‘Okay, well he just wins.’ but they don't see the grunt work that this kid puts in, day in and day out, week in and week out.” Chris Flowers said.

The hard work and focus that C.J. Flowers shows on the track have translated to hard work in the classroom as well.

“Now I’m noticing he wants to do extra curriculum work and extra work reading and extra stuff with math,” Chris Flowers told 12News last year.

A year later, the focus hasn’t changed.

“Now, we focus on all academics,” Chris said. “Now we put in the same push that we did in sports, we put it in academics now. So, now we want him to be able to fight as hard as he did on the track in the classroom.”

C.J. will have a few months of rest before he starts to train for next year’s Track and Field season.

   

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