Carlin Isles does everything quickly — and making people fall in love with him is no exception. The sprinter turned rugby player is expected to compete in the Olympics this summer in Rio de Janeiro, where he’ll be winning everyone over with his interesting backstory, brute strength and incredible speed.
Four years ago, the 26-year-old was vying for a spot on the U.S. Track & Field team, eager to compete in London. When he didn’t make the cut, he turned his attention to other sports — rugby and football. He enjoyed a brief stint with the Detroit Lions on their practice squad in late 2013 and early 2014, but soon focused his attention fully on rugby, which is returning to the Olympics this summer for the first time since 1924.
“I opened up my heart and I let God guide and direct me and he did a phenomenal job,” Isles told Us Weekly. “I fell in love with rugby right away. Even when I started watching, I was like, Man, I think this is made for me. As soon as I started playing, I felt alive. I feel alive when I’m able to run fast, and people can see that. The feeling that I get from it, it’s indescribable.”
Isles’ path to greatness hasn’t exactly been smooth, though. The Ohio native struggled as a child growing up in foster care before being adopted along with his sister by Starlett Isles. “She gave me a new life,” he says of his mother in a Red Bull–produced video.
Now, as he is on the road to Rio, the former Glasgow Warriors player and Red Bull athlete wants to share his success with the world and inspire others.
“I just want to be a person to be there for others because I remember when nobody was there for me,” Isles says. “I feel like I haven’t even come close to what I can be and what I’m capable of being. I want to get every ounce of ability out of me, so that everything you’ve given me I did not take it for granted.”
To see more of his story, check out the video (below).
To learn more about all the Olympic hopefuls, visit TeamUSA.org. The Olympics begin on August 5 on NBC’s networks.
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