Olympic gold medal winner visits local school - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Olympic gold medal winner visits local school

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - Jeff Henderson is an Olympic gold medalist, and he admits that as child he was not the greatest athlete but practice made perfect.

Jeff won a gold medal in the long jump competition at the Rio 2016 Olympics.

He loves talking to children to show them athletes are just people - no more special than they are. On Friday, the Olympic champion spoke to students at Vista Grande Elementary.

"Any dream is possible no matter what it is - whether you want to be a doctor or whatever. Fight for what you love to do," he told students.

As Jeff shared his gold medal with students he admitted he never dreamed of winning - especially when his mom's health started declining his senior year of high school.

"It was hard emotionally. Honestly, I was very hard. I used to cry almost every night," he said.

Jeff's mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer's and her condition deteriorated quickly, but her face always lit up when Jeff came in the room - inspiring him to always try his best.

Jeff said his mom's condition taught him to be humble and appreciate the things he had because they could be taken away at any time.

"The fact she can no longer move and can't say anything - it hurts me. It hurts bad," he said.

Even though Jeff's mom can no longer move or talk, Jeff is certain she knows he won the gold. "Putting the medal around her neck - it's like - I know she cant talk or walk, but her eyes tell everything," he said.

Jeff said he won gold for his mom.

His positive message also brought a gold experience for students at Vista Grande Elementary.

Jeff hopes to play in the NFL one day as a wide receiver and he also plans to get a master's degree in business administration.

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