‘I had to find the strength to carry on’

George Karlaftis, drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs last April, takes a selfie with fans after being picked to play for the team. Less than a year later, he was an NFL champion.

The world of sports has often provided us with beautiful fairytale-like biographical accounts. And some of these incredible journeys started in Greece, as though following in the footsteps of Hans Christian Andersen, who traveled to the country in 1841 and wrote about the impressions its colors and landscapes had made on him.

Some of the famous Danish storyteller's greatest heroes were people with special gifts like kindness, talent and generosity. One such young man is George Karlaftis, the 21-year-old US National Football League (NFL) champion defensive end of the Kansas City Chiefs. Formerly a water polo player for Athens club Panathinaikos and the national youth team, Karlaftis talks to Kathimerini about his early years in Greece and his rise to stardom in the world of American football.

Karlaftis was born in Athens on April 3, 2001, and grew up in the leafy...

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