He trained on mall skating rinks for the Olympics, but now this Mexican skater is making history

Donovan Carrillo of Mexico during the men's singles freestyle skating event on Thursday.
Donovan Carrillo of Mexico during the men’s singles freestyle skating event on Thursday. (Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)

For Donovan Carrillo, his journey to the Olympics was nothing short of nothing, if not tortuous.

Mexican-born football fanatic, figure skating is not a sport for kids. But even with opposition, Carrillo decided to give it up.

“As a child, I was bullied at school for practicing figure skating because other kids said it was a girls-only sport,” explained the 22-year-old after finishing 22nd in the chapter. men’s freestyle skating on Thursday.

“Because we don’t have a lot of boys training or competing; now, we have one. But before, it was something very unusual. But I always knew I liked it, so I decided to disobey them and focus on her skating.”

At the age of 13, Carrillo chose to leave his family for Guadalajara because the rink closed.

Living in León, the only available place the Carrillo train could go was the local ice rink, and it didn’t close to regular patrons while he headed to the ice rink. He had to practice his bounces and jumps while others skated around him.

At the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, Carrillo became the first Mexican men’s figure skater since Albertville 1992, when Riccardo Olavarrieta stepped onto the ice in the short program.

But after stepping onto the pitch at the Capital Indoor Stadium on Thursday, Carrillo said competing in the Winter Olympics for Mexico was a “dream.”

“It all started with a dream. When we were kids, we always watched the Olympics on TV. As I am a sports lover, I always wanted to represent my country in one of the games. (Olympic Games). I’ve had success with figure skating.” So for me, the Olympics, it’s just a proof that dreams come true. “

Carrillo continued: “Representing my country in the Winter Olympics with the best athletes around the world in figure skating is something that really inspires me and I think , not only for me but for my whole country.

“Now, after my performance on a short show, I get a lot of messages from them to say they are so proud of me. I’m just grateful for that and also motivated to give my best and keep fighting for more dreams, more goals.

“I hope my performance in Beijing can inspire more children and younger person(s) to develop and practice winter sports. In my country we don’t have skis, we don’t have snowboards. But, at least, we have figure skating and hockey, so I want to invite them to try because maybe they can find their passion and also themselves, just like I did with skating. That’s tape art.”

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