The 22-year-old Mexican figure skater, the first figure skater to compete at the Winter Olympics in 30 years, has advanced to the free skate after an impressive short program at the 2022 Beijing Games.
His short program on Tuesday set to the songs “Black Magic Woman” and “Shake It” by Santana won him an overall score of 79.69. Towards the end of his performance, Carrillo skated with his hands over his heart.
“This is for my family and all Mexico,” he said.
Born in Zapopan, Jalisco, Carrillo has said his training has been difficult. His family struggled to pay for his lessons and, at times, to find practice facilities. He’s known for training at a shopping center rink during public sessions.
Mexico hadn’t had a figure skater compete at the Winter Olympics since the 1992 Albertville Games when Riccardo Olavarrieta and Diana Encinas fought for gold. On Tuesday, Donovan Carrillo ended the country’s dry spell by competing in the men’s short program in Beijing.
“Many people told me during the beginning of my career that this was a crazy dream,” Carrillo said. “People were always laughing or telling me it wasn’t possible for a Mexican to qualify.”
Carrillo hopes his history-making performance at the Olympics encourages other athletes from Mexico.
“My message to the Mexicans who will be watching me at the Olympic Games through their screens is that no matter the hardships that may present themselves to you, work hard and never give up,” he said in Spanish in the Olympic Channel‘s Winter Tracks video series.
Carrillo is scheduled to compete against 23 other skaters in the free skate program on Thursday.