From a country where ice “is only seen in glasses,” as his father says, Donovan Carrillo Suazo has overcome all obstacles and today he has the hopes of many in Mexico focused on him.
The 22-year-old qualified for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics men’s singles figure skating final , with a routine that caused much pride in his country.
To the rhythm of the songs Black Magic Woman and Shake it , by Carlos Santana, Carrillo embroidered a program that left good feelings and the best score of his career: 79.69.
“I didn’t want it to end. It was a very special moment and I was enjoying to the fullest what I love most in life, which is skating,” he told the press in Beijing after completing the routine he dedicated to his family and to all of Mexico.
“Debuting at these Olympics is a dream come true for me . Overall the program was solid, I’m very happy with the result,” he added.
And it is that the road to Beijing 2022 has not been easy for Carrillo Suazo and his family, because in Mexico it does not have the necessary infrastructure, starting with a professional skating rink.
“In Mexico, most of the ice rinks there are inside shopping malls,” where he has had to train for big competitions, he says in the Beijing 2022 Winter Track documentary series.
That is also reflected in the fact that no other Mexican figure skater had qualified for the Winter Olympics for 30 years . Carrillo is also the first Latin American to play the final in his discipline at the Olympics.
On mall tracks
Carrillo Suazo was born in the city of Guadalajara, the second largest in Mexico.
His approach to skating happened because his sister practiced it and because his mother instilled in him a taste for the sport, as he himself explains. And also for love, because he says that he liked a skating girl.
“Little by little, skating began to envelop me until I ended up falling in love with the sport ,” he explains.
However, the only ice rink with acceptable conditions to practice figure skating closed in Guadalajara, forcing him to move in 2013 with his coach, Gregorio Núñez, to the city of León, 220 km from where he lived with his parents. .
“It is not a cheap sport and I think it is the first impediment that stopped him,” explains Núñez in Winter Track .
However, his desire to be the best and aspire to the biggest stages of figure skating motivated him to continue despite the lack of conditions.
“In Mexico, most of the ice rinks that exist are inside shopping malls. And training on a rink where there are certain types of distractions and situations, like skating with music all the time, makes training more challenging. “, points out Carrillo Suazo.
“You have to train with a quality of ice that is far, far below what exists in international competitions.
“Many countries do have the fortune [to have it]. In the summer I was training in Italy, in a super small city, with very few inhabitants, it had an impressive complex with an ice rink that we would like to have in Guadalajara,” he adds.
His father, Adolfo Carrillo, acknowledges that “there is not enough money” to pay for such a sport, even his coach has not received the fees he should, but they have supported him as much as they could: “It has been a process, but I think it is worth the pain”.
In 2019 , Carrillo Suazo was included in the Mexican government ‘s high-performance athlete program , which helped him pay the costs to train and compete globally.
A Mexican touch to skating
The last time that Mexico had figure skaters in the Olympic Games was in Albertville 1992, but they had never qualified for a final.
It is a sport rarely practiced at a professional level in that country.
However, for some years now, Donovan Carrillo Suazo’s skill and style have made him stand out on a national level, with routines that include themes from Mexican popular culture, such as music by Juan Gabriel, danzón or mariachi pieces.
“I always try to highlight the Mexican culture,” he explains.
And how have you managed to boost your career, despite the obstacles?
For the young skater, the preparation goes beyond the technical and artistic question .
“Visualizing myself, in different spaces, tracks, stages, is something I’ve done since I was little: see my routine from start to finish, in a large space, with a grandstand, with judges watching me, my coach aside… And the mind is super powerful”, “says Carrillo Suazo.
For him, there is something that Mexicans should keep in mind when pursuing their goals: “No matter what adversities come your way, work hard and never give up.”
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.
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