Our country does not live on football alone. However, despite having continental or world champions in non-traditional disciplines, soccer remains the rage of Costa Rican people. With a national team that has 10 games without winning, and constant disappointments and waves of negative comments that fill social networks with trash, soccer still keeps up the support of all of its sponsors intact, while other medalist athletes in their areas pick up the crumbs.
Furthermore, the last time Costa Rica participated in the Olympic Games, in soccer discipline, was in 2004, in Athens, 17 years ago. After that, it has been failure after failure, despite the economic benefits that football has, unlike the rest of the country’s athletes.
In our case, while soccer is shipwrecked in its own fiascos, the rest of the sports have included athletes of the highest level possible:
In athletics, we have the Vargas sisters. Andrea got her ticket to the Olympics, thanks to her gold medal at the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima, Peru. The youngest of the Vargas sisters, Noelia, got her pass last weekend in Coruña, after stopping the clock at 1:30:43 in the 20-kilometer race. Both also have current national and Central American records in their respective categories.
Sherman Guity will also go, but to the Tokyo Paralympic Games in the 100-meter dash. In BMX, Cartaginian Keneth Tencio has led Costa Rica over the top, by qualifying himself for the Olympic Games, in Freestyle. This Costa Rican athlete rubs elbows with the best riders in the world and will seek a medal in Tokyo.
In boxing, women have been the ones who have said “present”. Yokasta Valle is the current world champion after retaining the International Boxing Federation belt at 105 pounds. Hanna Gabriels fought on April 2021 and defeated the Mexican Martha Patricia Lara and left the world titles in 3 weights and 4 different divisions. In cycling, the Costa Rican María José Vargas will be, along with Andrey Amador, those who will compete in route through our country in the upcoming Olympic competitions.
For her part, in gymnastics, the 18-year-old, Luciana Alvarado, got a pass to the Olympic Games after winning the bronze and gold medal at the Pan American Gymnastics Games that took place last weekend in Brazil. This is the first time in history that Costa Rica reaches the Olympics in artistic gymnastics
Besides accomplishing that feat, it is worth mentioning that the discipline of surf already gave us 2 tickets to Tokyo; first, with Brissa Hennessy and, second, with Leilani McGonagle. And yet there are more athletes in other sports where, step by step, Costa Rica becomes visible on the world map thanks to their respective individual performances.
In advance, we apologize to other athletes that we have not mentioned yet, but who have excelled in different sports. And the list still goes on, all over a land full of talented and competitive people.