Winter Olympics: Mexican figure skater, other Latin Americans to watch

Brazil and Ecuador may not be known for their cold weather sports, but athletes from these and other Latin American countries compete in the Beijing Winter Olympics.

Why is this important: Despite coming from countries where winter sports are rare and have limited access to training facilities, these athletes seek to replicate the success of Latin Americans who broke down barriers at the Olympic Games in ‘last summer.

  • Brazilian gymnast Rebeca Andrade, Puerto Rican hurdler Jasmine Camacho-Quinn and Dominican and Ecuadorian weightlifters Crismery Santana and Neisi Dajomes are among those who won medals last time out.

Details: Contenders include figure skater Donovan Carrillo, the first Mexican to land a triple axel in a competition. The 22-year-old has mostly trained at rinks inside shopping malls where he has to maneuver around fans and kids learning to skate.

  • Carrillo will kick off with his short program on Monday. He is the second Mexican ice skater to reach the Olympic level, after Ricardo Olavarrieta in 1992.
  • The Brazilian bobsleigh team, which usually trains on a dry track, is once again competing.
  • Ecuador has its first winter Olympian this year: slalom skier Sarah Escobar.
  • Also look for Colombian speed skater Laura Gómez; Argentinian luge Verónica Ravenna; Chilean freestyle skier Dominique Ohaco and cross-country skiers Jonathan Soto from Mexico and Jaqueline Mourão from Brazil.

Fund: No Latin American participated in the first Winter Olympics, in 1924, but some countries have had sporadic showings since.

  • Argentina, a ski destination, had the most consistent presence, despite never winning a medal.
  • So far, Brazil’s Isabel Clark’s all-time best individual result is ninth in snowboarding at Turin 2006, and the best team result is Argentina’s fourth in bobsleigh at St. Moritz 1928.

do not forget: The Winter Olympics are celebrated during the northern hemisphere’s winter, when the southern hemisphere – countries like Argentina and Chile – are in the middle of summer.

To note: Several of the athletes who competed have dual nationality, but chose to represent Latin America.

  • This year, that tradition is carried on by athletes like alpine skiers Simon Breitfuss, an Austro-Bolivian; Mexican-American Sarah Schleper and German-Peruvian Ornella Oettl Reyes.
  • Hubertus von Hohenlohe, a Mexico City-born Austrian who skied in a mariachi costume, has drawn attention in the past.

Go further:

Get more important news about Latinos in the hemisphere, delivered straight to your inbox on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Register for the Axios Latino newsletter.

Comments are closed.