Milwaukee health official relives Olympic dreams

Hector Colon was a world-ranked boxer
Posted at 11:33 PM, Aug 12, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-13 00:33:37-04

The road to the Olympics can be tough. Hector Colon knows firsthand what it takes to compete at such a high level.

The head of Milwaukee Health and Human Services shares his journey toward earning an Olympic medal and the reason he gave up his dreams of going for the gold.

Colon was a natural welterweight with a wicked left hook. It's been more than a decade since he gave up the sport of boxing and his dreams of chasing Olympic gold.

"I remember my coach telling my father your son is a natural, he is going to become a champion," Colon said.

Colon  says a neighborhood bully pushed him into the ring and made him realize he had the athletic ability and determination of  an Olympic hopeful.

"Its physical, it's mental, and it's spiritual. If any one of those are compromised you will not be number one," Colon said

Boxing propelled this south side kid to national recognition and gave him an opportunity to see the world.

"I competed along with Oscar de la Hoya, Vernan Forest, Shane Mossley, some of the best welterweights in the entire world. It was  a pleasure to be among this elite group," Colon said.

By the time he was 18, he had a number of welterweight titles, but his toughest bout was the 1992 Olympic Trials.

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  • "I was favored to go to the Olympics but I lost to Jesse Persino. I ended up knocking him out the next year in 1993 in the first round for the US championship," Colon said.

    In his current job, Colon is knocking out different opponents.

    "I am knocking out chronic homelessness in this community. We may be the first city of our size to end chronic homelessness in the entire United States of America," Colon said.

    The "natural" admits the skills he's learned in the ring have been invaluable to his life outside the ropes.

    "There is no doubt that the dedication determination and discipline to be a champion boxer, and I applied that into my life. Whether it be for a husband a father or a professional in my career, I am striving to be the best that I can be," Colon said.