Published: May 30, 2013
Gymnast John Orozco wants to see himself in the movies even more.
The aspiring actor was one of 12 first-time Olympians featured in the official documentary "FIRST: The Story of the London 2012 Olympic Games," from NCM Fathom Events, New Moon and the U.S. Olympic Committee.
The stories range from the joy of gold-medal winners like U.S. swimmer Missy Franklin and Kenyan runner David Rudisha to heartbreak for top hopefuls like Orozco. The U.S. men's team placed fifth and Orozco was eighth in the all-around.
"If I can go through that and be positive, that allows me to grow as an athlete and a person," Orozco said. "I wanted to show the kids in the Bronx that they could make it and win a medal. That's why I got to go to Rio in 2016 and make it happen."
A premiere showing was held Thursday at Cinemark Tinseltown, 1545 E. Cheyenne Mountain Blvd., with most of the 130 in attendance with Olympic ties. The film will be broadcast by NBC later this year.
Stories like his resonated with the crowd.
"It encompassed every single emotion of the Olympics," Olympic Training Center dorm mother Sherry Von Riesen said. "For every 10 athletes at the OTC, one makes (the Olympics). Of those who do, one out of 20 doesn't fall short."
Orozco is recovering from a torn anterior cruciate ligament and meniscus in his left knee suffered Oct. 9. He hopes to be ready for the national championships Aug. 15-18 or worlds Sept. 25-Oct. 7.
The film shows how Orozco's life changed. As a child, his mother drove him to and from practices 30 miles from the Bronx to Chappaqua, N.Y.
"The coaches thought I had potential and they made sure I got into a free program because we were having financial difficulties," he said.
Orozco has reaped the benefits of celebrity. He took part in the recent White House Easter Egg Roll and enjoyed the Kellogg's Tour of Gymnastics Champions.
"It was cool getting to meet the first family and fun to spend time with all these great athletes," he said.
Orozco, who has three appearances as an extra in the TV series "Law & Order," plans a career in the movies.
"I will probably start out as a stuntman and work my way up from background (extra) roles to getting lines," he said. "I reached the Olympics so why can't I be the next Will Smith? But, if it doesn't work out I will earn a degree in business online and start a gym in the Bronx. I want to give the kids there the opportunity to do what they want to do."
Judging from the determination displayed in the documentary, he will succeed either way.