These Latino Athletes Are Dominating At The Tokyo Paralympics
More than 133 countries sent athletic delegations to this year’s long-delayed Paralympic Games in Tokyo and Latinos seem to be stealing the show. With limitations like vision impairment, intellectual impairment, loss of limbs, impaired muscle movement and limited field of motion, these athletes prove that there’s no limit to who can be a champion. Many have overcome extreme adversity to achieve their dreams and it’s incredible to watch our community (from U.S.-born Latinos to Colombians, Mexicans, and Brazilians) do so well on the international stage.
However, there are several countries (and athletes in particular) that stand out for their history-making performances as Latinos sweep the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics.
Latino athletes are making history at this year’s Tokyo Paralympics.
At the Tokyo Paralympics, Latino athletes have made an impression on the world stage for their exciting performances, taking home the most gold, silver, and bronze medals to their respective nations, making their communities proud.
Many of this year’s paralympic athletes have difficult life stories, overcoming their variety of disabilities, but also poverty, political instability, limited training resources, and even violence. Yet they’ve not let that stop them from taking their place upon the Paralympic podium.
Mexico is winning big in a variety of sporting events.
So far, the country has 15 medals in total, with six gold, one silver and eight bronze, giving them 20th place worldwide. And pushing the country past the 300 medal mark since it began participating in the Paralympics in 1976 in Toronto.
The team has seen extreme wins in both swimming and powerlifting. On September 2, swimmer Diego López Díaz took home the gold medal in the men’s 50-meter freestyle, along with two other gold wins in swimming. Amalia Pérez won the gold medal in powerlifting, beating out Ruza Kuzieva (Ukraine) and Lucy Ejoke (Nigeria) for the top spot.
Brazil is leading the region with the most medals.
Brazil claims the 6th spot in the world ranking for the number of medals won at this year’s games with a record-breaking 54 medals: 19 gold, 13 silver, and 22 bronze. The country comes in just behind China, the United Kingdom, the U.S., and Ukraine.
Brazil is killing it with 19 Olympic champions including long jumper Silvania Costa de Oliveira, long-distance runner Yeltsin Jacques, and sprinter Petrucio Ferreira, all of whom gave performances that put the Brazilians into sixth place.
Countries from Colombia to Venezuela are also doing incredible work at this year’s games.
Although in 26th place overall, Colombia is seeing incredible performances from its Paralympics team. The country has brought home 21 medals so far (3 gold, 7 silver, 11 bronze) and even broken world records. The country brought home the gold in the 100-meter breaststroke in swimming and José Gregorio Lemos won gold in the javelin competition as well as bronze in the long jump.
Colombia’s first gold medal win went to Nelson Crispin, who suffers from achondroplasia, a disease that affects the cartilage and prevents the normal development of bones. He stands only 4 1/2 feet tall and has proven himself to be one of the best Paralympic swimmers at the games. In fact, he’s gone to win thee additional medals.
For Venezuela, the achievements of athletes Linda Perez and Lisbeli Vera stand out, who each won gold on Tuesday in running competitions within 15-minutes of one another – making for a big night!
Latinos also made a huge splash at the London Paralympics back in 2012.
In 2012, the London Paralympics saw many Latino heroes as well. From Cuban Yunidis Castillo’s incredible 200m to Brazilian Alan Oliveira’s crushing of the world’s biggest Paralympic athlete, Latino athletes made London 2012 one of the most exciting games in the competition’s history.
It was one of the game’s most unexpected moments when Brazil’s Alan Oliveira beat world champion and Paralympic superstar, Oscar Pistorius, in the men’s 200m final with a time of 21:45s. It was long considered a race unbeatable but Oliveira beat Pistorius with more than 30 meters remaining and left the audience in shock.
Another Brazilian that made history in these games was Shirlene Coelho who grabbed the gold in the women’s Javelin throw in an impressive display at Olympic Park, beating China’s Qianqian Jia and Australian Georgia Beikoff and setting a new world record of 37.86m in the process.
These athletes are inspiring people from around the world as they chase their dreams for Paralympic Gold. What have been your favorite moments from the competition? Did we miss any special highlights? Let us know in the comments!
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