Assaulted swimmer gets surprise visit from Team USA athlete

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A world-class swimmer and 2016 Olympic hopeful showed up at a Crystal Lake banquet hall Sunday morning to surprise a 13-year-old boy who in February was the target of an alleged hate crime in his Crystal Lake middle school.

BJ Johnson, 26, a USA National Swim Team member, flew in to Chicago on Sunday morning from his home in California just to tell Omid Babakhani that his “swim family” from across the country supports him in his recovery and encourages his return to swim.

“We all wish you the best,” Johnson said.

February’s assault resulted in shattering both of Omid’s clavicles. Another student was charged with aggravated battery and committing a hate crime in the assault.
The soft-spoken Omit has since undergone a painful surgery involving the placement of two titanium plates held in place by six screws on each clavicle.

“I came here to tell you to not give up on what you are trying to do,” Johnson said to Omid prior to addressing the other swimmers and their families who attended the banquet.

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Production engineer and certified swim coach. Full-time IT consultant, spare-time swimming aficionado. 2 sons, 2 daughters and a wife. President of the Faroe Islands Swimming Association. Likes to run :-)

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