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Springs police officers reflect on Olympic journeys

Posted at 3:38 PM, Jul 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-22 09:48:21-04

COLORADO SPRINGS — Dedra Worley is a Colorado Springs Police Detective who works in the Crimes Against At-Risk Adults unit.

She’s served our community for 22 years and fell in love with Colorado Springs when she trained to be an alternate for the 1996 Olympics in judo.

Worley’s originally from California and said her mom let her try all kinds of things growing up, “I went through piano, ballet, gymnastics, and judo. That was the one. My mom, as surprised as she could be, signed me up and I haven’t stopped since.”

She competed in national and international competitions and qualified for the Olympic trials in the Springs. She loved seeing the enthusiasm worldwide.

“The fanfare was amazing. The overall support for the athletes. The spirit of the Olympics is so strongly felt,” Worley said.

Officer Clifton Sunada also competed in judo in the 1996 Olympic games in Atlanta.

“It was tough. A lot of work. Long days. Sacrifices made. All worth it,” Sunada said.

The two say the discipline set forth to become an Olympic-level athlete has served them in their careers.

“You get taught how to set goals and make goals,” Sunada said, “You take steps to accomplish them. Takes a lot of work. Wasn’t too bad jumping from one side to the other.”

“You gotta show up every day,” Worley said, “You got to be here every day because others are doing just that to be successful.”

Worley is also the Springs Police liaison for Special Olympics Colorado and enjoys sharing her passion with kids and adults with intellectual disabilities and seeing them thrive.