Rio de Janeiro
The Olympics is a celebration of competition, passion and nationalism that unites nations like no other organized event in the world. For 17 days we will closely watch athletes demonstrate hard work and commitment by overcoming their toughest obstacles in order to earn one of the highest honors in their sport. These athletes include many Latinas that have already become an inspiration to both men and women around the world; from 16 year old Puerto Rican-American gymnast Laurie Hernandez to Colombian BMX cyclist Mariana Pajón, many Latinas are sure to make a mark in sports history this summer.
Here’s a list of the top 4 Latina athletes to follow during the Olympic Games:
Laurie Hernandez: Team U.S.A’s Overnight Sensation (U.S.A, Gymnastics) –Laurie Hernandez, the second U.S.-born Hispanic and youngest member of the “Fierce Five” U.S. gymnastics team, was unknown by casual fans until her breakout performance six months ago in the national championships. This star’s electrifying performances on the floor and the highest beam score during the U.S. trials earned her a spot on the team that is favored to win.
Mariana Pajón: BMX Champ Prepares to Rule Again in Rio (Colombia, BMX) – Mariana Pajón is arguably the best female BMX cyclist in the world and earned Colombia its second gold medal in history during the 2012 Olympic games in London. Pajón showed the world that women have what it takes to compete in an extreme sport that is dominated by men. She’s a superstar in her home country and part of a new generation of athletes that have put Colombia as a legitimate contender in a variety of sports.
Idalys Ortiz: Unstoppable Cuban Judoka (Cuba, Judo) – After beginning her judo training at 10 years old, Idalys Ortiz earned a spot on the Cuban national team at the ripe age of 15. Now at 26, and with two world championships under her belt since winning the gold in London 2012, Ortiz will be no easy competition in the women’s heavyweight division in Rio.
Las Leonas: Fierce Legends in the Making (Argentina, Field Hockey) –This Argentinian field hockey team has recently won its seventh world championship trophy, the most by any national team and have won over 20 official titles since the year 2000 when their breakthrough summer earned them the nickname “Las Leonas.” Their nickname came from having a reputation for being relentless even when a match appears to be lost so you can be sure they won’t stop until they’ve reached gold.
Catch all the highlights of these Olympic hopefuls on the X1 Sports app and the NBC Sports app wherever you go. With these apps you’ll be able to catch live results and scores, real-time stats and highlights of each of their nail-biting games.