Maria Belford, a photographer and filmmaker from New York, recently took to Tumblr to create AFROLATINAS FUERTES, a long list of Afro-Latina athletes who are killing it in a wide array of sports. Naturally, there are a few Olympic athletes tucked away in there. Here are a few of those athletes you should be watching this year in Rio de Janeiro.
Don’t let her sweet face fool you. Marcia Videaux is a global name in gymnastics and will be competing in all the gymnastics events in Rio.
— EmbaCuba_Italia (@EmbaCuba_Italia) June 25, 2016
Videaux is the Cuban gymnast to watch, for sure. She will be one of three Cuban women who will be competing in the gymnastics competitions at the Rio Olympics, and she is literally doing ALL of the events, including all-around. Earlier this year, Videaux proved that she is a force to be reckoned with when she won the vaulting event at the World Cup of Gymnastics in Anandia, Portugal.
Ángela Tenorio went from troubled teen to the fastest sprinter in Latin America.
— El Telégrafo Ecuador (@el_telegrafo) August 19, 2015
Tenorio is going to the Olympics to compete in the one event she totally dominates throughout Latin America. The Ecuadorian sprinter is currently the fastest woman in the 100 meter sprint in Latin America and will be competing in that event at the Rio games. She’s also going to run in the 200 meter sprint. Tenorio will be racing against fellow Ecuadorian sprinter Marizol Landazuri in Rio. Both women, among the fastest sprinters in Latin America, grew up labeled as problem youths and channeled that energy into running. It all paid off as they are definitely two women to watch this year at the Olympics.
Once described as “the little one,” Idalys Oritz is one judoka that is definitely making her name known on the mat.
— Revista Bohemia (@bohemiaonline) July 3, 2016
Ortiz first fell in love with judo when she was very young. By 14, she had fully committed her life to the sport. That was when she first arrived at the national training center in Havana and decided to prove her stuff with other fighters. After a long tryout process battling women bigger and stronger than her, she remembers the instructor saying that “the little one stays.” After that, she has dedicated her life to winning — and she has more than 200 medals to prove it.
Déborah Rodríguez is going from best female athlete in her home country to challenging the best in the world.
Todo el mundo festejo los 100 yo festejo los 75 Días para los Juegos Olímpicos de Rio2016??? pic.twitter.com/WBokhcN8C8
— Deborah Rodriguez (@deborahAthlete) May 22, 2016
Rodríguez is one of the best sportswomen in Uruguay. No, seriously. In 2014, the track star was awarded the Gold Charrúas by the Círculo de Periodistas Deportivos, officially crowning her the best Uruguayan female athlete for the 2013-2014 season. This honor is made even grander when you learn that she beat out competitors in 38 different sports to be the best. Since winning that award, Rodríguez has been focused on training for the 2016 Rio Olympics. She won her spot in the women’s 800 meter sprint, and the last Ibero-American Championships show Rodríguez even has a knack for the 400-meter hurdles.
She was the first Colombian athlete to bring home a gold medal from the International Association of Athletic Federations competition. Now, Caterine Ibargüen is going to try to win the gold in Rio.
— Yahoo Esportes (@yahooesportes) July 19, 2016
Ibargüen made history at the International Association of Athletic Federations competition in Moscow as the first Colombian ever to bring home the gold. Since then, she has been slaying on the track and earned herself a spot on the 2016 Colombian Olympic Track & Field team. Her specialty? The triple jump. She told El Heraldo that she never considered herself the best, but by qualifying for the Olympics, she at least knows that she’s not the worst.
This 4′ 11″ weightlifter dominated the Pan Am Games and will be looking to impress in her second Olympic appearance.
— Diario Libre (@Diario_Libre) July 12, 2016
Country: Dominican Republic
At only 4′ 11″ tall, Pirón is a surprising force in the sport of weightlifting. Though she usually competes in the 48kg division, this Dominican lifter dominated the 53kg division during this year’s Pan Am Games and even took home two of the three gold medals for the competition. This will be her second Olympic appearance, so those competitive nerves, while still there, are not enough to deter this Dominican powerhouse from chasing her dreams.
Now that you’re done, go to AFROLATINAS FUERTES to check out the rest!