Barrondo: From Olympic Medalist to Guatemalan Knight

It’s a knight’s tale for Erick Barrondo following his medal-winning performance at the 2012 Olympic Games

The 21-year-old Guatemalan racewalker—who finished second in the men’s 20km race walk at the London Games—will become a Knight of the Order of the Sovereign Congress.

Erick Barrondo

Guatemalan lawmakers unanimously approved the decoration for Barrondo for giving his country its first-ever Olympic medal.

In addition, the 116 members present at the session voted to award Barrondo $64,000 for stellar performance.

“If in England there is a Sir Alex Ferguson (manager of top soccer club Manchester United), why in Guatemala can’t there be a Knight Erick Barrondo,” said legislator Haroldo Quej as he explained why he voted in favor of the honor.

Erick Barrondo

President Otto Perez Molina met Tuesday with Dora and Bernardo Barrondo, parents of the athlete, who’ll compete next Saturday in the 50km walk, to coordinate the details of the trip to London that the government will provide then so they can cheer on their son.

“They are being given the trip to accompany Erick and give him the warmth and support he needs for the race,” a spokesperson for the president’s office told Efe.

“He’s going to be welcomed as a hero, as he deserves. We’re going to be waiting for him with open arms,” Perez Molina said after Barrondo’s medal-winning performance in the 20km event.

Barrondo Wins Guatemala’s First-Ever Medal at the London Games

London Olympics 2012

He may have just missed winning a gold medal at the 2012 Olympic Games, but Erick Barrondo’s name will still be forever etched in Guatemala’s history books.

The 21-year-old Guatemalan racewalker finished second in the men’s 20km race walk at the London Games on Saturday, giving his country its first-ever Olympic medal.

Erick Barrondo

Following his race, Barrondo—whose parents were both middle distance runners—broke away from journalists’ questions to take a call from Guatemala’s president, Otto Perez Molina.

“The president congratulated me on the first Olympic medal for the country. He told me that everyone had come out on the streets to celebrate the triumph,” said Barrondo, who finished 11 seconds behind China’s Chen Ding. “It was a glorious day for me, but the glory is most of all for my country.”

Erick Barrondo

In a day of firsts in London the race was won by Chen, who together with his third placed compatriot Wang Zhen were the first Chinese men to win an Olympic medal in a race walking event.

Barrondo, who finished 10th in last year’s 20km race walk final at the world championships in Daegu, worked hard to stay in contention among a Chinese and Russian dominated leading pack before breaking away to split China’s duo on the final stretch.