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Paralyzed gymnast from Utah inducted into Hall of Fame

Posted at 6:16 PM, Sep 09, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-09 20:20:06-04

SANPETE COUNTY, Utah — Kalon Ludvigson, a gymnast originally from Utah who broke world tumbling records before becoming paralyzed in a devastating accident nine years ago, has now been inducted into the Hall of Fame and given an even more special honor because of what he’s done after his gymnastics career.

“He used to flip off the house and onto the tramp. He was flipping all the time,” his mom Laurie Ludvigson told FOX 13 News from her home in the rural central Utah town of Sterling. “If he got in trouble, I said 'No more flipping!'”

He kept mastering the skill of tumbling, a talent that eventually took him to the world stage. But first, his mom said, there were those twice-a-week, five-hour round-trip drives to the nearest training facility, which was in Ogden.

“He did his homework, I just blasted on the radio and drove," she said of the long road trips.

He overcame logistical challenges when he made Team USA — the youngest ever at just 16.

Kalon Ludvigson said it’s just something he truly loved.

“I definitely loved it. It was anything and everything, it was all I wanted to do, it was what I thought of when I went to bed and first when I woke up. I was definitely dedicated," he said.

He went on to win 20 international medals and eight consecutive U.S. titles, and even broke records.

But his biggest challenge would come in 2013, when he fell while teaching a gymnastics camp for kids in Pennsylvania and became paralyzed. It was a moment that would change his life dramatically, but a new challenge that he would again overcome.

“I think I was put in a circumstance that not many have to face, but I think anybody’s who is put in my situation could do just as good if not better than what I did with the cards I was dealt,” Kalon Ludvigson said in a Zoom interview with FOX 13 News while on a lunch break at a hospital in Ohio, where he works as a pharmacist.

Becoming a pharmacist is just one of the many accomplishments he’s made since his accident.

“I was the first wheelchair-bound student that was admitted into the college of pharmacy at Idaho State and the first to graduate,” he said.

He was also the first person in several years to receive the Spirit of the Flame award — an honor he received in Florida last month where he was inducted into the Gymnastics Hall of Fame.

“I was aware of the Spirit of the Flame award before receiving it, and it’s definitely a huge honor," Kalon Ludvigson said.

His mom said she just hopes her son’s story inspires someone to live their dream no matter what challenges they may face, saying she can’t wait to see what he does next.

Right now, he is inspiring thousands online, where he shares his weightlifting journey and many other things on his Instagram account.

“It’s just day-to-day life for me — just a testament to the whole human spirit and the tenacity and perseverance that I think we all have," he said.