Winter Olympics: Donovan Carrillo makes history and qualifies for the figure skating final


Mexican figure skater Donovan Carrillo celebrates the end of his routine.
Mexican figure skater Donovan Carrillo celebrates the end of his routine.ALEKSANDRA SZMIGIEL (REUTERS)

Mission accomplished and history written. Donovan Carrillo, 22, has managed to reach the final in his first Olympic Games. The feat is done: he was the only Latin American in the test despite the fact that in his country there are no ice rinks for high-performance athletes. Carrillo manufactured his own miracle to get among the best 24 skaters in the world after getting to the final, the long program of the discipline, something that no Mexican had achieved. He finished in nineteenth place.

Donovan Carrillo’s charisma has cast a spell over Mexico. For his talent, for his tenacity and for his insistent need to show Mexican culture in music and in his competition costumes. The one for the Games was a black and gold one with more than 17,000 crystals and spikes. Carrillo was moved by Black Magic Woman by Carlos Santana, the artist that his father used for him when he was a child. If with Juan Gabriel he rose to fame, with the melody of the Mexican guitarist the chords were mixed with the movements of Carrillo. His smile, yes, never faded. “Kisses to my family and to all of Mexico, dreams come true!” Carrillo shouted after his routine. The judges gave it a score of 79.69, a personal record. The Mexican came out well qualified from his triple jump, the Triple Axel with a score of 8.91. That earned him to get into the long program next Wednesday (7:30 p.m. Central Mexico time). “I am very motivated to give my best in the free skate. One of the goals was to seek this classification,” Carrillo told the Claro Sports network after the competition.

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Mexican Donovan Carrillo during his short program at the Winter Olympics.
Mexican Donovan Carrillo during his short program at the Winter Olympics.ANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULAT (AFP)

In the competition, only 29 of the 30 competitors were present. American Vicent Zhou was left out after testing positive for covid-19. Donovan Carrillo earned his ticket to the Beijing 2022 world championships by finishing in 20th place. “One of my first emotions when I finished the short program is that I didn’t want it to end. It was being a very special moment and I was enjoying to the fullest what I love most in life, which is skating”, he told the Olympic Games press. Carrillo, classified in 19th position, stood out on a night in which the ice artists remained in the lead: the American Nathan Chen and the Japanese Yuma Kagiyama and Shoma Uno.

The Mexican made his way training on ice rinks in shopping centers in his native Guadalajara. He moved at the age of 12 with his coach to the city of León, in Guanajuato. There the story did not change so much because he was still preparing on tracks with an amateur quality. Carrillo’s family looked for sponsors in companies, but they rejected him; Those who supported him were his friends and relatives. So he began to travel to Europe to compete. His mother, Diana Suazo, told EL PAÍS that her son had exceptional maturity.

Mexicans do not care where it ends, the value is that it was able to show itself to the world in the highest competition. Before Carrillo in the men’s category, there was Ricardo Olavarrieta who participated in 1988 and 1992. The pioneering Mexicans Diana Evans, in 1988, and Mayda Navarro, in 1992, also left their mark. Carrillo, who was already loved by the harmony of some Games , just wants to enjoy on the ice.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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