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Jul 10, 2014 10:59 AM by Elizabeth Hill

Local man defies odds, excels at bodybuilding

If you came across Divon Spears at the gym you probably wouldn't think twice.

In fact, you may even be a little intimidated.

Spears is hard at work, fulfilling a lifelong goal of being a competitive bodybuilder.

"Relocating here to Lafayette and working out with a friend here and he said go ahead and try to compete in bodybuilding, ya know, just give it a try."

And in a sport that comes down to looks, Spears is at a slight disadvantge.

"What I have is a genetic disorder called retinitis pigmentosa."

It's a degenerative eye disease that has taken away most of his central vision and some of his peripheral vision.

But looking at Spears' perfect form in the weight room and they way he moves from machine to machine with little help, you'd never guess he can't see.

"I go by the feel of it, how it's made, with the dumb bells and I pick it up a little bit to see if it's the right weight I need to work with."

Spears says he's learned to feel his poses and flexes since he can't see them and when he steps on stage he's in his element.

"Each year I take something I had from the past and just apply it the following year, so I can just continue to improve."

Diagnosed at just 13-years-old, bodybuilding is just one of many things spears has excelled at despite his impairment.

"Can't can never be an option to you."

Spears will compete in Saturday's NPC Louisiana Championship right here in Lafayette at the Heymann Center. If you're interested in tickets and times for the event you can click here.

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