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Athletes From Latin America Are Winning Big At Tokyo Olympics

There’s no doubt that this year’s Olympic Games are different from any other in history. Athletes from more than 20 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean are competing in Tokyo determined to make their countries proud after the heartache that was brought on in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Some athletes are making their Olympic debut, while others have overcome extreme obstacles like lack money for equipment or no access to training facilities, some even battle violence and poverty at home to compete once again. Many Latin American Olympians come from countries where most sports are underfunded and sponsorships are nearly impossible to get even before the pandemic. And despite the fact that the pandemic continues to ravage many Latin American countries, hundreds of skilled Olympians are pushing forward, determined to win big for their countries. And from Mexico to Cuba and Brazil to Ecuador, teams from across Latin America are doing just that.

Venezuela’s Yulimar Rojas shatters world record and makes history for her country.

Yulimar Rojas made history for her native Venezuela as she smashed a world record that has stood for 26 years – going an incredible 15.67 meters in the women’s triple jump. Not only did she break the world record but she is the first Venezuelan woman to win an Olympic gold medal – she’s also an out and proud lesbian and prominent LGBTQ activist. Seriously, what an inspiration!

Brazil’s Rebeca Andrade brings home the gold for her wow of a gymnastics performance.

Rebeca Andrade became an inspiration for women’s gymnastics in Brazil after winning the first gold medal in gymnastics history at an Olympics.

Andrade took gold with 15,084 in the final, the only gymnast to break the 15-point barrier in the jumping final. The silver went to the American Mykayla Skinner (14,916) and the bronze to the South Korean YEO Seojeong (14,733), who barely beat out Mexican Alexa Moreno, who finished fourth.

And, thanks to her incredible performance, Andrade will have the distinct honor of being Brazil’s flag-bearer at the Olympics closing ceremony.

Cuba has completely dominated the boxing and wrestling categories at the games.

Out of five gold medals awarded so far in boxing, Cuba has taken home three of them. The latest champion is Julio la Cruz who dominated Russian world heavyweight champion Muslim Gadzhimagomedov to win his second medal in Tokyo.

“My team and trainers gave me a lot of confidence that I could win the fight, and they were right. They said that I had to believe in myself,” said La Cruz, who won the light-heavyweight gold in Rio in 2016. “Paris is only three years away. I’ll go the next Olympics and try to win a third gold,” he said.

And Cuba has yet another chance to win big on Sunday in the lightweight division as Cuba’s Andy Cruz is set to take on Team USA’s Keyshawn Davis.

Mexico thrashed the French soccer team in widely-watched match.

One of the Olympic highlights for many is the men’s soccer games, which are officially underway in Tokyo. And the opening rounds produced everything from surprising results with both frontrunners France and Germany suffering surprise defeats. The French were outdone by Mexico in Group A, which stole headlines worldwide.

Mexico absolutely mauled France with a 4-1 win which helped place El Tri in frontrunner status for the gold thanks to the power kicks of Alexis Vega and Sebastian Cordova. But that frontrunner status was relatively short-lived thanks to a later defeat by Japan – though Mexico is still guaranteed a spot at the quarterfinals.

Ecuador won its second-ever Olympic gold medal in the men’s road race.

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♬ In This Shirt – The Irrepressibles

Richard Carapaz made his native Ecuador proud as became one of the biggest names in cycling. Over the weekend he went on to win the Olympic road race before one of the few crowds at the Tokyo Games, giving his country its third medal ever and the second gold medal in its Olympic history.

His family’s reaction (as seen above) – which went viral on TikTok – is the reason why watching the Olympics can be so emotional.

Brazil’s Italo Ferreira wins the first Olympic gold medals in surfing.

The waves at the inaugural Olympic surf competition came to life on Tuesday (thanks to Tropical Storm Nepartak), leading Olympic organizers to try and cram the quarterfinals, semifinals and medal matches into one busy day. And thanks to the wild waves, Carissa Moore of the United States and Italo Ferreira of Brazil, two of the top surfers of the day, became the first to win Olympic gold medals in the sport.

Brazil also won big in the skateboarding championships, bringing home the country’s second silver medal in the sport.

Three of the youngest competitors at this year’s Olympics were on the Olympic podium for skateboarding – two 13-year-olds and one 16-year-old. They proudly rocked their gold, silver and bronze medals around their necks — an achievement a very small percentage of adults, let alone teenagers get to experience in their lifetime.

Brazil’s 13-year-old Rayssa Leal brought home a silver medal for her impressive skating. Leal was Brazil’s second silver in skateboarding after Kelvin Hoefler finished in second place on Sunday in the men’s event.

Thanks to the powerful showing in Tokyo, many skaters are already predicting big events at the next Olympics in Paris in 2024.

“It’s going to change the whole game,” U.S. skater Mariah Duran told the AP. “This is like opening at least one door to, you know, many skaters who are having the conversations with their parents, who want to start skating.

So far the medal count stands at 52 for countries in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Brazil remains in the lead among Latin American countries with a whopping 16 medals, including 4 gold medals. But Cuba isn’t far behind (with 13) and, in fact, has the most gold medals of any Latin American country so far. As the games continue, we will keep updating this page with highlights from the games and the Latin American medal count.

  • Brazil: 16 (4 Gold, 4 Silver, 8 Bronze)
  • Cuba: 13 (6 Gold, 3 Silver, 4 Bronze)
  • Colombia: 5 (4 Silver, 1 Bronze)
  • Venezuela: 4 (3 Gold, 1 Silver)
  • Dominican Republic: 4 (3 Silver, 1 Bronze)
  • Mexico: 4 (4 Bronze)
  • Ecuador: 3 (2 Gold, 1 Silver)
  • Argentina: 2 (1 Silver, 1 Bronze)
  • Puerto Rico: 1 (1 Gold)

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