Rigoberto Urán is the first Latino to take the podium at the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London…
The 25-year-old Colombian road racing cyclist was thisclose to winning the gold medal in the men’s cycling road race on Saturday morning. But in the closing kilometers of the race, Kazakhstan’s Alexandre Vinokourov sprinted just past Urán to earn the gold medal.
Urán, the winner of the young rider classification at this year’s Giro d’Italia, would have to settle for the silver.
“To be honest I wasn’t counting on the medal but we have it now. This one is for all the people of Colombia who were hoping,” said Urán at the finish line. “Colombia, this medal is for you.”
Winning the silver just days into the 2012 London Games was a proud moment for Urán and his country. At the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, Colombia took home just one medal – a silver in the women’s 55kg wrestling. Uran was hoping for the gold, but didn’t have the strength to overhaul by Vinokourov.
“I attacked and at the sprint I was thinking of the gold [medal]. However, one thing is what you think and another thing is what the legs say,” the cyclist told RCN Radio. “I looked to my right and suddenly Alexandre took off. I didn’t have anything left for a sprint. It was a very long day.”
Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos immediately reacted to the news of the country’s first medal in London for 2012.
“I want to express my happiness and I believe the happiness of all Colombians because we have just won the first medal at the London Olympics,” he said in a public speech.
Uran’s silver is just the 12th medal won by a Colombian at the Olympic Games.
Alexander Kristoff of Norway took home the bronze in the men’s cycling road race.