Entertainment

This Colombian Has Made History As He Becomes The First Latino To Win The Tour De France And The World Is So Proud

Marca Claro Colombia / Twitter

The Tour de France is the biking world’s biggest event. It’s basically cycling’s Copa Mundial, it’s huge. So the fact that a Colombian is totally owning this championship race is a major deal and Latinos around the world, but especially Colombians, are celebrating extra fuerte because this year a Colombian is set to win cycling’s biggest race. 

Egan Bernal is making history as the first Latino to win the Tour de France and we stan.

Credit: @CNN / Twitter

Egan Bernal, a 22-year-old from Colombia, is set to be crowned the winner of this year’s Tour de France. Not only will be the first Latino and first Colombian to win the race but he’ll also be the youngest winner since 1909 – yes, 110 years ago.

This is amazing. 

Obviously, all of Colombia is supporting his victory over hundreds of other riders. Bernal’s victory has seemed to come pretty easy to him. He’s sailed through the competition leading most of the race segments. And since the Tour de France winner is selected based upon their overall times per race segment, Bernal is all but guaranteed to win.

“We still have to make it to Paris,” Bernal told reporters covering the Tour. “I can’t understand what’s happening. I will need a few days — it’s incredible. It’ll take a few days to realize what I have achieved,” he continued. “To be honest, I was feeling good today. I kept thinking 5km, 4km, 3km. One less, one less to go, each time.“

If there is any surprise at Bernal’s win, it is that it has taken so long for a Colombian to top the podium and he could now dominate for years to come.

But this year has scene the rise of many Colombians. This year alone, three of them – Rigoberto Uran, Nairo Quintana, and Bernal – finished within the top 10.

And yea, it’s true, Bernal isn’t only the first Colombian to win he race he’s also the first Latino.

Credit: @BruceCarlson75 / Twitter

Mr Bernal’s journey from a humble upbringing has become a symbol in Colombia, a country that has produced many famed cyclists.

He’s shattering records – he’ll also be the youngest winner, at 22, since 1909!

Credit: @BBCSport / Twitter

Yup, not in 110 years has someone as young as Bernal won the Tour de France. And not only that, Bernal is the third youngest winner in the race’s 116 year history.

Like many young Latinos, Bernal almost entered the world of futbol.

Credit: @KissMyArsenal / Twitter

But apparently, Bernal wasn’t a fan of the sport. He dropped it shortly after starting it and took up cycling instead.

Colombia is a well-known cycling country with many champions competing in tournaments around the world. However, none has ever risen to the level of success that Bernal will have achieved after winning the Tour de France.

For both young and old, emotions were running high in Bernal’s hometown of Zipaquira.

Credit: @AFP_Sport / Twitter

In his hometown of Zipaquira, hundreds came to the “Plaza of Hope” to watch the final stage of the Tour in Paris, beamed across a giant screen. A graffiti mural of the champion was unveiled in the town over a week ago.

Bernal’s victory has resonated especially with Colombians from modest backgrounds, many of whom are from the same deprived, largely indigenous areas of Colombia’s Andes mountains.

Basically all the Colombians in France, and probably from Colombia too, came out to celebrate on the streets of Paris.

One Twitter user pointed out that they didn’t even think there were any Colombians left in Colombia because they all seemed to have arrived in Paris to celebrate the exact moment that Bernal crosses that finish line.

Bernal also seemed to be getting in on the celebrations.

Credit: @PimientoFutbol / Twitter

Can’t say we blame him. Aside from the adrenaline and pride that comes from his accomplishment, it’s also been extremely hot in France. As the Tour de France has been taking place, record temperatures have been taking place all over the country – including in Paris where the city reached its all time high temperature on Friday of 108º F.

There Is Still A Lot Of Mystery About The First-Ever Latino To Play In The MLB

Entertainment

There Is Still A Lot Of Mystery About The First-Ever Latino To Play In The MLB

Public Domain

When it comes to crossing racial barriers in baseball, Jackie Robinson is the first name that comes to mind for many. However, before there was Robinson, there was Luis “Lou” Manuel Castro, the first Latino player in baseball’s modern era and the first to play in Major League Baseball. While his name might not be in the same regard or even known to many like Robinson, Castro earned the important distinction.

But unlike Robinson, Castro’s playing career was short, only lasting 42 games for the Philadelphia Athletics in the 1902 season where he batted for a .245 average. This might be why Castro isn’t as highly regarded or well known as the baseball Hall of Famer who broke baseball’s color line in 1947.

There might be another reason the name Lou Castro isn’t a household name. There are conflicting reports on where he was actually born.

Credit: Wikipedia Commons

There is some mystery when it comes to the legacy of Castro that many point to where he was really born. There are some reports that say Castro listed New York City as his birthplace later in his place but it’s widely agreed that he was born in 1876 in Medellin, Colombia. Castro would only stay in Colombia for eight years as his family and he would move to the U.S. due to the country’s political instability during that period. Castro’s family traveled by boat to the U.S. where they arrived in New York. 

According to Nick Martinez, a baseball historian who studied Castro’s life, a list of passengers he researched shows that an 8-year-old Castro was indeed on the S.S. Colon, which arrived in New York City on October 16, 1885, supporting the case that he did arrive from Colombia.

During his teen years, Castro would pick up baseball and by the age of 17 years old, he joined the Manhattan College baseball team. He was known to have quite the sense of humor among teammates and garnered the nickname “Judge.” He’d continue his playing career across multiple minor league clubs before getting his big break at the major leagues. Hall of Fame manager Connie Mack got a good look at Castro and offered him a try-out that resulted in him joining the Philadelphia Athletics.

While his run as a major league player was short with the Athletics, Castro still made enough of an impact to say he contributed to the club clinching the 1902 American League pennant. According to Remezcla, the rookie was invited to be a part of the team’s year-end banquet where gave an acceptance speech on behalf of some fellow teammate. The celebration even resulted in him singing some songs in Spanish. 

There is also the highly debated theory that Castro was somehow related to Venezuelan President Cipriano Castro. 

Credit: Public Domain

The theories don’t just stop with this birthplace, Castro has been linked to being related to Venezuelan President Cipriano Castro. He has both claimed and denied being related to the infamous dictator. It was known that Castro frequently claimed to have been either the nephew or cousin (or even son) of Castro, who had prior family and business connections back in Castro’s home country of Colombia. 

The legacy of Lou Castro might be a bit complicated but he led the way for other Latino ballplayers to break into the big leagues. 

Credit: Wikipedia Commons

While his playing days were short, Castro’s baseball life continued as he became the first Latino to “manage a club in Organized Baseball” after he retired as a player. Castro would eventually die in New York at the age of 64 on Sept. 24, 1941. 

While Castro’s career didn’t immediately lead to a burst of Latin players making their way to the big leagues, it would be another decade before Latino players started to make an impact on the field, he still paved a way for many Latinos to follow. 

Iconic Latin stars like Roberto Clemente and Orlando Cepeda, who played for the Pittsburgh Pirates and the San Francisco Giants respectively, would rise to fame in the late ’50s. In 2018, the number of Latino MLB players hit 31.9 percent, the highest in 20 years. The number is a testament to the ever-growing popularity of the game in Latin countries and the door that Castro opened back in 1902.  

While his story might not be as well know as other baseball players, Lou Castro does have his place in history. 

Specifically, Latino history. 

READ: This Victory Makes Christian Villanueva The Fifth Mexican Baseball Player In MLB Ever To Hit Three Home Runs In A Single Game

This Team Of Synchronized Swimmers With Down Syndrome Were Denied Access To A Pool For Fear Of Contaminating Other Swimmers

Entertainment

This Team Of Synchronized Swimmers With Down Syndrome Were Denied Access To A Pool For Fear Of Contaminating Other Swimmers

sirenasespeciales / Instagram

Sirenas Especiales (Special Mermaids) is giving girls with Down Syndrome in Mexico a chance to show off their athletic abilities in synchronized swimming. The team and program were organized by Paloma Torres, a former synchronized swimmer from Peru, after she studied educational psychology. Her thesis was on the cognitive benefits of synchronized swimming. With that and a little patience, Sirenas Especiales was born.

Sirenas Especiales is tearing down the stigma and misinformation about people with Down Syndrome.

Credit: sirenasespeciales / Instagram

Coach Paloma Torres knew that people with Down Syndrome are often very creative and flexible. Those two characteristics are perfect for synchronized swimming so she knew that it would be a great idea to get a group of girls together.

However, Torres and Sirenas Especiales immediately faced pushback from local pools in Mexico City because of the girls’ Down Syndrome.

Credit: sirenasespeciales / Instagram

“I had to find a swimming pool where we could organize regular practices. At first, I couldn’t find anywhere. One pool even refused entry to my swimmers, saying that they might contaminate other swimmers! It was really disheartening at first — both for me and for the girls’ parents,” Torres told France24. “Finally, I found the Alberca Olímpica Francisco Márquez pool, which is located in southern Mexico City. I’ve been training the group there since 2011.”

The team overcame the initial mistreatment from local pools and have been competing in national and international competitions.

Credit: sirenasespeciales / Instagram

Their Instagram is filled with photos of the team holding medal from the various competitions they have participated in. They’ve competed all over Mexico and were recently at the PanAm games to cheer on Mexico’s national synchronizing team.

The team continues to grow with more girls and boys wanting to participate in synchronized swimming.

Credit: sirenasespeciales / Instagram

Torres currently trains about 20 swimmers between 14 and 30. There are three boys who are part of the team and 17 girls, according to France24. It seems clear that the swimmers enjoy their chance to show off their own athletic abilities.

The sport is doing more than just giving them something to do.

Este día tan especial Sirenas Especiales darán entrevista en Capital 21 Canal 21 en TV abierta, no se lo pierdan a las 10:35am en VIVO!!!!! FELIZ DÍA MUNDIAL DEL SINDROME DE DOWN Edith Perez Rocio Hernández Martínez Paloma Torres Montserrat Vega Triny Turcio Blanca Olivia Fontes Machado Araceli Vazquez Loredo Beatriz Mendoza Castañón China Li Lourdes Castellanos Daniel Perez Martinez

Posted by Sirenas Especiales on Tuesday, March 21, 2017

This sport helps participants improve their concentration and memory,” Torres told France24. “However, most importantly, this activity helps them integrate socially. They participate regularly in competitions both nationally and internationally, which sometimes include swimmers without disabilities. Our team has won about 50 medals. They become more social and their work is applauded. It’s also important for their families because some of them don’t think that these girls will make something of their lives.”

One thing Sirenas Especiales is doing to changing the narrative around disabilities one synchronized swim at a time.

Credit: Sirenas Especiales / Facebook

The swimmers are showing everyone that you can do anything you set your mind to. There is nothing that can keep them from participating in the sport that they love and enjoy.

Congratulations, swimmers.

We can’t wait to see what you do next.

READ: The Internet Was Having A Collective Sob Fest After A Video Of Young Disabled Man’s Reaction To Getting His First Job Goes Viral