For the first time in forty-four years a Venezuelan athlete has captured gold at the Olympics.
Ruben Limardo Gascon, who will celebrate his twenty-seventh birthday on Friday, captured the top prize in men’s individual épée fencing on Wednesday.
Limardo won Venezuela’s first-ever medal in fencing and first medal at the London Games after beating Norway's Bartosz Piasecki 15-10 in the final match. The twelfth-seeded combatant from Ciudad Bolivar took an early lead in the title bout and held on against his less seasoned rival.
Despite several early upsets in the competition, Limardo won a series of close matches in order to reach the gold medal combat. His trickiest test came in the semifinal when he beat Seth Kelsey of the U.S. in overtime by a score of 6-5.
“I dedicate (this medal) to all the Venezuelan people and also the children who are the country’s future,” Limardo reportedly said after the medal ceremony. He also dedicated his gold medal to his late mother who he claimed was “accompanying me from heaven.”
In other recent medal-winning results from Latino and Latin American athletes:
- In the men's all-around gymnastics competition Cuban-American athlete Danell Leyva came back from seventeenth position at the halfway mark and earned a bronze medal.
- Cuba added a pair of medals to their tally after Asley Gonzalez won the silver in the men’s 90kg judo class and Ivan Cambar Rodriguez won bronze in 77kg men’s weightlifting.
- Mexico’s Paola Espinosa announced that she would retire from competitive female synchronized diving after she and partner Alejandra Orozco got the silver medal in the women’s competition.
- Colombian Yuri Alvear won bronze in the women’s 70kg judo category and, oddly enough, passed on the customary congratulatory phone call from her country’s president.
Online Sources – ESPN, Bernama, Reuters, El-Nacional.com, USA TODAY, BBC Sport, Sacramento Bee