London Olympics 2012: Cuba Wins the Most Medals in Latin America and the Caribbean

Cuban newspaper Granma points out that Cuba, placing 16th in the London medal count, won the most medals among Latin American and Caribbean countries in the 30th Olympic Summer Games in London:

Cuba (placing 16th in the London medal count) regained the lead in Latin American medals after being replaced by Brazil in Beijing 2008, with five gold medals, two from boxers Robeisy Ramírez and Roniel Iglesias. Cuban boxing, which did not win a single title four years ago, recovered the prestige it has always enjoyed, as one of the best schools on the planet. The Cuban delegation was left without gold medals in athletics, sadly disappointed by the injury of Olympic champion and world record holder Dayron Robles, in the 110-meter hurdles.

In addition to the five gold, Cuba won three silver medals and six bronze. Jamaica came in just behind Cuba, with Usain Bolt and a team of excellent runners, both male and female, putting on a grand show. Jamaica finished 18th in the medal count (12 medals total, four of each), thanks mostly to Bolt’s performance, with the double three, as his phenomenal three gold medals in two Olympics, has been dubbed. (100m, 200m and 4x100m relay). [. . .]

Brazil, 22nd in the international medal count, came in third among Latin American countries, but short of its high hopes. Brazilian athletes won 17 medals, three gold, which represents little progress as compared to the 15 won in Beijing and less than the 20 set as a goal. The country’s national secretary of high performance sports, Ricardo Leyser, anticipates that the country should be able to win 25 to 30 in 2016, to place among the Top 10 in the medal count. The London Games allowed for a small step in that direction. [. . .] The country’s biggest disappointment was in football, which, on the other hand, provided Mexico, the winners, with the most satisfaction.

Mexico came away with a total of seven medals, three silvers and three bronzes along with the football gold. Diver Paola Espinosa joined the exclusive club of Mexican athletes who have won medals in consecutive Olympic Games, taking silver in the 10-meter platform synchronized diving event, with Alejandra Orozco.

Other Latin American countries which had their best Olympic performances ever included Colombia, with eight medals, one gold, thanks to Mariana Pajón in BMX cycling. Pajón joined weight-lifter María Isabel Urrutia, Sydney 2000 champion, as the only Colombians to have won Olympic gold medals.

The Dominican Republic gave the world an image which will be long remembered in Olympic lore, a tearful Félix Sánchez, winning the gold medal in the 400-meter hurdles, at almost 35 years of age. [. . .] If Sánchez represents his country’s sporting history, the present and the future of athletics there lies with Luguelín Santos. The 18-year-old speedster won a silver medal in the 400 meters in his first Olympic appearance.

[. . .] Venezuela was pleased with fencer Rubén Limardo’s gold medal, the country’s first in 44 years, since boxer Francisco “Morochito” Rodríguez won his in Mexico 1968. [. . .] Jaime Espinal won Puerto Rico a silver in Greco-Roman wrestling and Javier Culson, a bronze, in the 400-meter hurdles. [. . .]

For full article, see http://www.granma.cu/ingles/sports-i/16-agosto-cuba-london.html

Photo of Robeisy Ramírez from http://cubasolidaritycampaign.blogspot.com/2012_08_01_archive.html

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