María Caridad Colón: A Cuban Olympic Legend
By Jhonah Díaz González Photo: Juventud Rebelde
Havana._ Cuban María Caridad Colón, 62, was elected to the International Olympic Committee (IOC), one more feat in her glorious sports career during which she achieved immortality in javelin throwing in Moscow 1980.
A lot could be said about Colón, but what is clear is that her career has been linked to the Olympic Games, and the month of July deserves an important place in her life story.
On July 25, she threw the javelin at a distance of 68.40 meters and rose to the Olympic podium; this year, on July 17, she returned to sports news with a different vision, maintaining her same commitment the Olympic Games.
'That gold medal changed the meaning of everything,' said Colón, who was born in the easternmost province of Guantánamo. 'It all started 40 years ago and it always brings me new joy,' she told The Havana Reporter.
The first Latin American and Caribbean woman to win a gold medal in the history of the Olympic Games acknowledged that it is an honor to join the IOC, after her election at the 136 session of the IOC Assembly – held online.
'It is a dream come true, one you feel is almost impossible to attain, but it is the result of decades' worth of work in athletics,' added Colón, who was wearing a blue T-shirt with a Cuban flag embroidered on the right side.
Colón has always been a trailblazer, from when she reached glory in Moscow to now, starting the list of Cuban women who join the IOC.
She will follow in the steps of her fellow countrymen who held a post in the world's main sport governing body: Porfirio Franca y Álvarez de Campa (1923-1938); Miguel Ángel Moenck (1938-1969); Manuel González (1973-1993), and Reynaldo González (1995-2015).
Immediately after her appointment, the former javelin thrower defined her new approach. One of her priorities will be to support the Latin American region, a task that is close to her heart because of Cuba's work in a dozen of nations in the area. 'I will keep that objective and will defend the interests of our people, which I carry with me,' she said. She also noted that she is hoping to be an active protagonist in the fight for gender equality, a mission that the IOC undertakes and she is familiar with because of her participation in several national and international projects and events.
The former athlete and two-time Pan-American champion (in San Juan 1979 and Caracas 1983) is aware of the current global context. 'The world is living in a difficult time. We do not know what will happen tomorrow after everything that has happened in the year of the Olympic Games. However, what matters is the health of the athletes and the population, and that we can defeat this pandemic,' she concluded.
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