Richard Carapaz has consumed tons of paper, hectoliters of ink, hundreds of hours of radio and television in all the world’s media, in all languages. The universal dimension that has reached his gold medal in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games is surprising because he is an athlete who has been trained in the midst of enormous difficulties, belonging to a country with little victorious tradition in this kind of jousting and because he competed almost alone, without the support of a team. By the rules of the ranking of the International Cycling Union (UCI) Ecuador could only register two participants on the road, compared to countries that had six cyclists and an exuberant display of support systems, bicycles, wheels, handlebars, spare pedals, a staff doctor and an endowment of means of hydration.
The distance that separated Carapaz and Jhonatan Narváez from these squadrons, so well armed, was stark. For these road events, a cyclist needs gregarious, runners who help their leader achieve victory. The work of the gregarious can be of all kinds: from supplying drinks, to standing in front of the strong man to reduce the friction of this with the wind that makes him lose aerodynamics; he even provides emotional support when he seems to be failing. Narváez was a great emotional support, but when it came to the big decisions, when Carapaz fought against the best in the world on the road, he was far away. Alone against everyone, our gladiator managed to prevail and reach the goal with a wide advantage to give us one of the greatest joys in history. The lack of support from sports organizations since he began to fall in love with cycling on a bicycle armed with scrap metal, which had no tires, until he began to take off as an elite athlete has made him a rebel against the leaders. Carapaz is a simple man, but the adversity, the humiliations, the persecutions have made him insubordinate. And we applaud that it is.
From the peak of glory he has thanked those who trusted and supported him. When he spoke that Ecuador never believed in him, he did not refer to our people who had already shown him their admiration and affection since the victory in the 2019 Giro d’Italia. The missile has targeted the leaders and officials who denied it helps in the beginning and then embarrassed him in the sad episode of the Bolivarian Games of 2017.
The then Sports Minister, Andrea Sotomayor, who was not an official member of the delegation, was among those who accused Carapaz, Narváez and Jonathan Caicedo, selected for the Games, of committing a serious disciplinary offense. Without having the authority to do so, he approved to expel them from the delegation, a punishment that the president of the Olympic Committee and the head of mission, who were the ones who had to decide, agreed to accept as a fait accompli before an authoritarian bureaucrat. The COE announced the opening of a disciplinary file that was going to give the cyclists the opportunity to give their version. Such a file was never opened. This could have ended the career of athletes who recovered emotionally from injustice. The scouts of talents had already noticed our compatriots and took them to Europe. It was in 2018, months after the injury, that Sotomayor decided to include Carapaz (who had just won a stage of the Giro that year) in the High Performance Plan with a meager pension for a sport that requires large expenses if one considers that only a competition bike can cost $ 18,000.
The JJ. OO. Tokyo were to be held in 2020. In January of that year Carapaz said he did not know of plans or funds for the preparation. The Sports Secretariat assured in a statement that “the Ecuadorian Cycling Federation had received $ 642,916 at the beginning of that year. $ 342,202 of the lump sum has been allocated for the preparation for the events, recognition of the route of the Tokyo Olympic Games, World Cup events and participation in the Tour Colombia 2.1 ”. We should ask our medalist and Narváez how much of that money was given to them for their preparation. While the entire planet stands up to recognize the value of Carapaz, Ecuador is full of madness and nonsense. Andrea Sotomayor affirms in an interview that the Olympic champion should thank him for having punished him, because from the sanction that she approved is that the greatness of Carapaz begins. She only had to ask that the Carchense thank her and give her the gold medal, because there is no one who deserves it as much as she does. The response you have received on social media is punishment enough. Do you understand the reaction of the medalist now?
A tiny sector of journalism has criticized our champion for his attitude. Neither understands about the values of sport and what they bring to society. Alberto Dahik Garzozi has taught them a lesson in an opinion article in EL UNIVERSO. I recommend reading it, as well as getting vaccinated against COVID-19. It is a good way to prevent certain contagions to which innocence, denial or ignorance frequently push us, especially opinion-makers in good faith. I do not know a town where journalism tries to destroy the glories, instead of being proud of them. As soon as a winner emerges, opinions arise that mock those who were once heroes. It all comes with the tale of the question who is the best of all time? Instead of raising a monument to the memory of those who made us great, we chop down into the epic past to install the unique, the incomparable, the marvelous athlete that represents the present.
When Andrés Gómez won Roland Garros (two more Grand Slam doubles) the first thing we heard from an intellectual homeless was “forget about the story of Pancho Segura; does not exist; the only great one is Andrés ”. And it is indisputable that Gómez is a giant, but Segura was a three-time world champion and is the only Ecuadorian in a Hall of Fame who has made him legendary and immortal. Antonio Valencia arrived at Manchester United, was a starter and captain in several seasons. Today a squad shouts now: “Don’t tell us about Alberto Spencer; that cannot be compared with Valencia ”. And it happens that Spencer was two times champion of the world; he is considered one of the ten best players in history; appears in a special volume of the Encyclopedia Ocean of Soccer entitled ‘The Immortals’, along with Pelé, Cruyff, Maradona, Di Stéfano, Bobby Moore and others cracks.
Why choose one when we can enjoy them all: Carapaz, Jefferson Pérez, Segura, Spencer, Jorge Delgado, Jacinta Sandiford, Carlos Luis Gilbert and several other names? The United States can choose. He has 2,523 Olympic medals; us 3. And we want to destroy those who have given us fame, applause, prestige, celebrity. Let us move away from low-level subjects who propose this task and raise our applause and recognition to our athletes of universal fame. (O)