In 2016, when 22-year-old Mexican gymnast Alexa Moreno competed at the Olympic Games in Rio it wasn’t her impeccable skills as an athlete that many focused on. The Olympic competitor took on a feat that few have the chance to do by turning up to the Olympics and place in 31st place that the competition. But critics ignored her impressive skills on the uneven bars, the floor, vault, and beam and instead drilled into her for her body type. According to Today, one user on Twitter at the time wrote of her attendance at the Games saying “Alexa Moreno has the body of two gymnasts, a diet before going to Rio would have been good.”
Three years later, the now 25-year-old athlete has shrugged off nasty comments and is back in the Olympic games, haters be damned.
In 2016, Mexicana Alexa Moreno traveled to Rio de Janeiro to compete for her country in the Olympics. Mexico rooted for her as she impressively competed in the uneven bars, floor exercise, beam, vault and more, earning 31st place. Meanwhile, instead of being deeply impressed by her skills, Mexican Twitter trolls body-shamed her. Not for long. Some people around the world rallied to her defense and pointed out her superior athleticism.
In fact, Mexico just awarded Moreno with the Premio Nacional del Deporte, naming her the best non-professional athlete in the entire country.
In a video shared to Twitter, gymnast Alexa Moreno thanked her supporters.
“Thank you for this recognition and thanks to all who have supported me on the way to get here,” she captioned the video. “Today, I was informed that I was the winner of the Premio Nacional del Deporte. I’m very shocked. The truth is that I didn’t imagine this would happen at all,” she told her fans in the video. “It’s a huge surprise. It’s very gratifying. Yes, I’m very, very happy. There’s nothing else to say but thank you to everyone. I want to thank everyone who has been a part of my journey. There’s been an entire circle of people around me. It’s not just me. It’s not just my job. I want to thank all the people who believed in me, for believing in me. Thank you very much.”
Moreno is the first Mexican woman gymnast to medal at a world championship.
Moreno became the first Mexican woman to medal at a world championship just last year, when she earned bronze on vault. Last month, Moreno competed in the 2019 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Stuttgart, Germany. Her performance on vault qualified her for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo!
Moreno’s supporters emoji-clapping all over Twitter.
“HONOR TO WHOM HONOR IS DUE,” tweeted sports journalist Jocelin Flores in Spanish. “Alexa Moreno, the first Mexican to climb the podium of the World Artistic Gymnastics Championship, is the winner of the 2019 National Sports Award, Non-Professional category.” One mother tweeted at Moreno to say in Spanish, “Congratulations! You are a great role model for the children of the country.”
“The most deserved,” tweeted Twitter user Sebastián, “I think she’s already established herself as the best Mexican gymnast of all time.”
When the haters were hating, some people were creating beautiful illustrations of Moreno.
Moreno signed up for gymnastics when she was just 3-years-old. “Mexico needs people who prove that everything is possible,” Moreno told CCTV America in 2016. “You need to believe in yourself and fight to be able to do things that no one has ever done before.” Moreno is just 4’11” and 99 pounds. As the haters started deleting their tweets, Alexa Moreno went viral for all the fan art her inspirational performance generated.
We hope all the Mexican niñas are watching and being inspired by Moreno.
“I can’t believe the criticism and bullying of #AlexaMoreno,” one Mexican woman shared to Instagram, along with a video of her routine. “I see this routine and I applaud it, it excites me, it inspires me. This girl is a champion and an example to follow. I was a gymnast and BELIEVE ME it is very difficult to reach that level in this country where the support for gymnastics is almost nil. How can it be that instead of being proud and encouraging we are the first to trash her?!?! What kind of country are we? How do we intend to train valuable athletes if we are the first to throw them down?!?!”
Even though Moreno did nothing to achieve her beauty, we have to say, she’s so beautiful.
Of course, we should all be talking about how 23 years of regimented, back-breaking athleticism has made her Mexico’s best gymnast. That takes the kind of athletic work that many of us will never know. Moreno is also “drop-dead gorgeous” as my mom would say. Not that it matters.
Felicidades a la favorita de México!
We are rooting for you, Moreno! The medal that qualified her for the 2020 Olympics scored at a 14.508, less than one point behind the infamous U.S. gymnastics gold champion Simone Biles. Mexico has never taken home a medal in gymnastics. With Moreno competing on behalf of México, we’re high-key rooting she becomes the first Mexican to climb up on an Olympic podium to medal in gymnastics. Let the haters hate. Mexico loves you, Moreno, and so do we.
Every year billions of dollars are generated off the backs of an unpaid labor force: college athletes. Universities take advantage of athletes’ amateur status to pocket the profits of what has turned into an exploitative world of high-revenue college sports. But legislators are forcing college sports to find fairer alternatives.
The NCAA announced yesterday that it voted in favor of letting college athletes profit from their name, image, and likeness.
The Board of Governors of the NCAA, which oversees college sports, announced yesterday that it had voted unanimously to adjust rules that prohibited players from generating money from their own fame. The move came after lawmakers in several states began proposing or enacting legislation that gives college athletes the right to profit off their name and likeness.
Last month, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed the Fair Pay to Play Act, giving college athletes the ability to earn income from endorsements and sponsorships starting in 2023.
The legislation bypassed a National Collegiate Athletic Association’s (NCAA) ban on players receiving any compensation aside from scholarships. At the time, NCAA regulations disallowed student athletes from executing any endorsement deals or accepting payment for the use of their images. The new California law, which is scheduled to go into effect in 2023, would now allow them to reap the financial rewards for their athletic abilities. It would also bar the NCAA from retaliating against the colleges and student athletes.
In an interview with the New York Times, Newsom said, “Every single student in the university can market their name, image and likeness; they can go and get a YouTube channel and they can monetize that. The only group that can’t are athletes. Why is that?”
While the NCAA’s reluctant bend in favor of popular opinion is understandably being characterized as a landmark victory for college athletes, the organization was vague about how it plans to implement these changes.
The NCAA said the updated policies would be “in a manner consistent with the collegiate model.” But the organization’s idea of “collegiate model” is rooted in the fallacy that college athletes are amateurs, even if schools and coaches are being paid bountifully for these athletes’ hard work. So who knows whether yesterday’s vote is truly a turning point for the NCAA—or just an attempt to head off more far-reaching reforms.
For now, the NCAA should thank government officials for applying the necessary pressure to force college sports in a new direction.
That more athletes would get tired of being exploited by the NCAA and its member schools was only a matter of time. If the organization doesn’t change its ways, a true collegiate pay-for-play system could emerge—and not under the NCAA’s control. Lawmakers in California and other states created a perfect opportunity for the NCAA to abandon its outdated beliefs and embrace a progressive system that will ensure its survival.
An HBO documentary, Student Athlete, highlights the travails of college athletes.
A former Rutgers football player is depicted working part-time jobs after graduating and sleeps in his car. ‘Student Athlete’ unveils the exploitative world of high-revenue college sports through the stories of four young men at different stages in their athletic careers.The documentary posits that those who don’t make it big after graduation would at least earn something for all of their hard work.
Coaches make millions while players and their families live below the poverty line.
Former coach and NCAA critic John Shoop said, “The coaches are making millions of dollars and they’re coaching players whose parents live below the poverty line.” “If you’re a reasonable person, it’s insane to build a $150 million recruiting facility, pay your head coach $10 million, the rest of your staff $20 million cumulative, but then say there’s not enough money to help the players.”
The new rules might prove especially beneficial to athletes whose careers end at college level —particularly female athletes.
Despite the imbalances that exist in college sports, the new rules should put the NCAA in a better position to create more financial opportunities for players—especially those whose athletic careers end at the college level. The policy change could prove particularly beneficial to female athletes, who usually don’t have the same professional opportunities as men and often reach the height of their popularity in college. As the former UCLA gymnast Katelyn Ohashi pointed out recently in The New York Times, she missed out on a lot of money because she was unable to capitalize on her viral fame.
“The NCAA is a billion-dollar industry built on the backs of college athletes,” Ohashi stated. “How different would things be for me had I been able to use my image and name my last year of school in order to promote the things I want to further my future? I want to make sure the next person doesn’t have to wonder.”
The new legislation and NCAA rule, may finally level the playing field and offer the student-athletes the opportunity to be compensated for their hard work.
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