It’s been an exciting and unusual summer Olympics in Tokyo so far. After being delayed for a year due to the pandemic, the Tokyo Olympics kicked off on July 23 and will come to a close on August 8. A number of unexpected wins and losses have marked the games including American gymnast Simone Biles dropping out of multiple events, Jamaica’s Shelly-Anne Fraser-Price not medaling in the women’s 200m track finals and the U.S. women’s soccer team succumbing to Canada. Our biggest takeaway so far though? Our Latinx athletes are badass and Afro-Latinas in particular have been dominating.
We’re talking so incredible that a number of athletes from Latin America or of Latin American descent, have actually been responsible for some of the most historic moments at the Tokyo Olympics, and it makes us so proud. Keep reading to see the Latinx athletes that have made history at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
Venezuelan triple long jumper Yulimar Rojas became the first woman from her country competing in any sport to win any Olympic gold medal. Jumping a distance of 15.67m, the 25-year-old, who is also a vocal advocate for the LBTQ+ community, also set a new world record with her gold medal winning effort.
Brazilian gymnast Rebeca Andrade overcame multiple obstacles to get to the Tokyo Olympics after failing to medal at the 2016 Olympics in Rio. She suffered multiple injuries and endured weeks of isolation after contracting COVID-19. In the end, it was all worth it though when she left Tokyo with a silver medal in the individual all-around competition and a gold on vault. The 22-year-old is the first woman from Brazil to win a a medal in artistic gymnastics in the history of the Olympics.
Weightlifter Neisi Dajomes became the first woman from Ecuador to win a medal at any Olympic games when she earned the gold medal in the 76kg category by successfully lifting a total of 263kg. She is also only the third athlete from Ecuador to win a gold medal in the history of the Olympics.
Track star Jasmine Camacho-Quinn is from South Carolina but ran for Puerto Rico, where her mother was born, and made two countries incredibly proud when she made history. She won Puerto Rico’s first ever gold medal in track and field, and only the second gold medal for the island in Olympic history. She also set a new Olympic record with her 12.37-second 100-meter hurdle making fellow Boricuas SO PROUD.
Costa Rican gymnast Luciana Alvarado may not have made it to the podium, but she created her own historic moment at the Olympics and made headlines across the world when she choreographed her support for the Black Lives matter movement into her floor routine during the event semi finals. She finished the event by taking a knee and a raising her fist to the sky, later explaining that she did because she believes everyone should be treated with “respect and dignity.”
Miami native Ariel Torres makes history as the first Cuban-American to ever compete in Karate at the Olympics. The 23-year-old from Hialeah, Florida has been involved in the sport since he was a child and will compete in the position of male elite Kata during the Olympic games. Kata is the non-fighting discipline of Karate known as “forms,” and Ariel is currently ranked 6th in the world.
Eddy Alvarez made history as the first baseball player ever to serve as a flag bearer at the Olympics opening ceremony. In Tokyo, he shared the honor with basketball player Sue Bird. Alvarez is of Cuban descent, previously competed with the United States National baseball team in the Tokyo Olympics. He also used to play for the Chicago White Sox and the Miami Marlins. made history as the first baseball player ever to serve as a flag bearer at the Olympics opening ceremony. In Tokyo, he shared the honor with basketball player Sue Bird.
Anyone who knows anything about basketball has heard the name Diana Taurasi who has played in the WNBA for 17 seasons, and is a living legend in women’s basketball. In Tokyo Diana, who is of Argentinian descent, will vie for a fifth Olympic gold medal, and if the team wins, she will be the only female basketball in Olympic history to achieve that level of success. During the quarterfinals in Tokyo she also became only the second player in United States basketball history to score 400 points at the Olympics.
Crismery Santana of the Dominican Republic is a weight lifter who won a bronze medal in the 87kg women’s category. Crismery became the first Dominican woman to reach the Olympic podium in any individual sport. She lifted a total of 256kg to secure her medal.
Crismery came in just under Ecuador’s Tamara Salazar who won the silver medal in the 87kg weightlifting category. Tamara lifted a total of 263kg. During the competition she was the only athlete who did not fail on any attempt in either of her modalities.