7 Afro-Latina Athletes Who’ve Won Olympic Gold Medals

Afro-Latina excellence has always existed; it has just been majorly left out of documented history

Photo: Unsplash/@kfdias

Photo: Unsplash/@kfdias

Afro-Latina excellence has always existed; it has just been majorly left out of documented history. HipLatina is putting the spotlight back on this greatness, in an attempt to write Latinas, and Afro-Latinas back into the narrative. In this article, we will take a look at the seven Afro-Latinas who brought home the gold for their countries in the Olympics.

Rafaela Silva

Brazilian joduka Rafaela Lopes Silva won the gold model at the 2016 Rio Olympics, in the women’s 57 kg division. This was Brazil’s first gold medal ever. Her victory was especially inspiring considering she’d thought about quitting judo after receiving many racist comments online after the 2012 London Olympics. Fortunately, she stayed committed to the sport and showed the haters what a winner looks like. 


Yumileidi Cumbá

Yumileidi (also Yumisleidis) Cumbá Jay won the gold twice for Cuba. The first time was at the 1990 Havana Olympics, in the discus throw event. The second, was in Athens in 2004, in shot put. The athlete also won a silver medal in Havana in the shot put competition.


Caterine Ibargüen


Colombia’s own Caterine Ibargüen Mena has won two Olympic medals. She competes in the high jump, long jump, and triple jump. Her first medal was silver, for the triple jump, won in London in 2002. Caterine went gold for her second medal, also for the triple jump, which she earned in Rio in 2016.


Osleidys Menéndez

Osleidys Menéndez Sáez won gold at the 2004 Athens Olympics in the javelin throw event. The Cuban track and field star also won a bronze medal at the 2000 Sydney games.


Idalys Ortiz

Idalys Ortiz Bocourt, from Cuba, won medals in three different Olympic games for judo–all in the women’s 78kg division. In Beijing, in 2008, she won the bronze medal, and took home the silver in the 2016 Rio Olympics. Ortiz’s golden moment was in 2012, when she won the gold in London.


Maria Isabel Urrutia

María Isabel Urrutia Ocoró won Colombia’s first gold medal at the 2000 Sydney games, for weightlifting (in the women’s 75 kg class). Before changing over to weightlifting, Urrutia had competed in the 1988 Olympics in Seoul in shot put and discus throw. At the time of her win, she used her gold medal for good, advocating for peace against the armed guerrillas in her homeland. 


Sibelis Veranes

Cuba is lucky enough to have two Afro-Latina gold medalists in the same sport. Sibelis Veranes Morell won the highest honor at the 2000 Sydney Olympics in judo (women’s middleweight category, 63-70kg).

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