This Olympian Chose To Represent Mexico To Honor His Father’s Roots

Meet Robby Franco. He’s a skier competing at this year’s Winter Olympics.

Franco is one of a handful of athletes representing Team Mexico in Pyeongchang.

His goal? To win Mexico its first medal at a Winter Olympics.

Born and raised in California, Franco decided to represent Mexico to honor his father, who is from Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico.

Franco grew up in Camino, a small town between Sacramento and South Lake Tahoe. He told Marca.com that he fell in love with skiing during family ski trips to Lake Tahoe. After honing his craft for years, Franco eventually turned pro during his teens and moved to Colorado to focus on training. Franco, who holds dual citizenship, represented the United States until 2014, when he made the switch to Mexico.

Since choosing to rep Mexico, the 24-year-old has reconnected with family in Jalisco…

… visited Teotihuacan near Mexico City…

… and even trained without snow.

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A post shared by Robby Franco (@robbyfrancoskiing)

So, what exactly does Franco do? He competes in slope style, a skiing event where athletes make their way downhill while doing tricks on various obstacles, like rails and takeoffs.

Here’s a trick from a rail:

Spencer Davies / YouTube

And one from a takeoff:

Nick Franco / YouTube

Aaaand here’s a trick in slo-mo:

?  ?  ?

Broad City / Comedy Central

A top 30 skier, Franco says his goal is not just to bring Mexico its first Winter Olympics medal, but to inspire others to try the sport.

“I thought if I could be a spotlight to encourage other athletes from Mexico, to learn to ski, to pursue this if the Olympics is your dream. Do what I did. Follow it,” said Franco to the Sacramento Bee.

The Men’s Ski Slopestyle competition kicks off on Sunday, February 18.

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