Kevin Paredes Named to U.S. Men’s National Team for 2024 Paris Games

2024 Paris GamesKevin Paredes is headed to Paris to compete at his first-ever Olympic Games.

The 21-year-old Dominican American professional soccer player, who plays left wing-back or left winger for Bundesliga club VfL Wolfsburg and the United States national team, appears on the 18-player roster for the United States men’s Olympic team (USMNT), as revealed by manager Marko Mitrović.

Kevin ParedesParedes, the 2023 U.S. Soccer Young Male Player of the Year, is among the five forwards named to the USMNT for the 2024 Paris Games.

In August 2023, Paredes received his first call-up to the United States senior national team by head coach Gregg Berhalter, for two friendly matches against Uzbekistan and Oman. In all, he’s made three appearances.

The men’s Olympic soccer tournament is restricted to players under the age of 23, but it does allow for three “overage” players. Colorado Rapids midfielder Djordje MihailovicFC Cincinnati defender Miles Robinson and Nashville defender Walker Zimmerman will fill each of those spots. The remainder of the roster comprises players born on or after Jan. 1, 2001.

This summer’s tournament in Paris marks the first time that the U.S. men have qualified for the Olympics since 2008.

The roster is also bolstered by midfielders Gianluca Busio and Tanner Tessmann, both of whom helped lead Venezia in its successful bid to gain promotion to Italy’s Serie A last season.

“Today is a special day for us. We announced our roster and we are excited to go to the Olympic Games,” Mitrović said. “We are going there after 16 years [of not qualifying] on the men’s side, but also we are very excited that we are going to be together with our women’s team after almost two decades.”

Because the Olympics don’t qualify as an official FIFA competition, club teams aren’t required to release players for the tournament.

“We all know that it was actually a really difficult process in the last eight to 10 months, first talking to the clubs and trying to get all the players released,” said Mitrović. “Yes, there was challenges, but however we’d end up [it was] with the roster that we really believe that can represent us in the best possible way. And I feel very, very good about team that is going to the Paris.”

That explains, in part, why the vast majority of players from the USMNT who just competed in the Copa América aren’t on the roster. Robinson is the lone exception.

Those limitations presented a challenge for Mitrović in terms of constructing the roster. But of those players that were named, 15 of the 18 have made appearances for the full U.S. men’s national team, with Zimmerman, a veteran of the 2022 World Cup squad, leading the way with 42 appearances.

Ten of the players are currently contracted with Major League Soccer (MLS) clubs, with the remainder playing in Europe.

The last U.S. team to participate, in 2008, was led by former USMNT stalwarts Michael Bradley and Jozy Altidore. They narrowly missed out on qualifying for the medal round.

This time around, the U.S. men qualified by virtue of winning the 2022 Concacaf Under-20 Championship. From that team, only the Philadelphia Union‘s Jack McGlynn and FC Utrecht‘s Paxten Aaronson made the final Olympic squad.

All of the U.S.’s group stage games in the 16-team tournament will be played in Marseille, with the opener taking place on July 24 — two days before the opening ceremony — against the host country France.

That will be followed by matches against New Zealand on July 27, followed by the group stage finale against Guinea three days later.

If the U.S. qualifies for the medal round, it will play the quarterfinals in either Paris or Bordeaux.

The semifinals will be held in Marseille and Décines-Charpieu — just outside of Lyon. The final will be held in Paris on Aug. 9 with the bronze medal match being held in Nantes a day earlier.

The U.S. will prepare for the Games in Bordeaux at the home of Ligue 2 side Bordeaux from July 9-20 before moving to Marseille ahead of its opening match.

U.S. OLYMPIC MEN’S SOCCER TEAM ROSTER BY POSITION (CLUB; HOMETOWN)

Goalkeepers (2): Patrick Schulte (Columbus Crew; St. Charles, Missouri), Gaga Slonina (Chelsea/ENG; Addison, Ill.)

Defenders (6): Maximilian Dietz (Greuther Furth/GER; Frankfurt, Germany), Nathan Harriel (Philadelphia Union; Oldsmar, Florida), Miles Robinson (FC Cincinnati; Arlington, Massachusetts), John Tolkin (New York Red Bulls; Chatham, New Jersey), Caleb Wiley (Atlanta United FC; Atlanta), Walker Zimmerman (Nashville SC; Lawrenceville, Georgia)

Midfielders (5): Gianluca Busio (Venezia/ITA; Greensboro, North Carolina), Benjamin Cremaschi (Inter Miami CF; Key Biscayne, Florida), Jack McGlynn (Philadelphia Union; New York), Djordje Mihailovic (Colorado Rapids; Jacksonville, Florida), Tanner Tessmann (Venezia/ITA; Birmingham, Alabama)

Forwards (5): Paxten Aaronson (FC Utrecht/NED; Medford, New Jersey), Taylor Booth (FC Utrecht/NED; Eden, Utah), Duncan McGuire (Orlando City SC; Omaha, Nebraska), Kevin Paredes (Wolfsburg/GER; South Riding, Virginia), Griffin Yow (KVC Westerlo/BEL; Clifton, Virginia)

Alternates (4): Josh Atencio (Midfielder, Seattle Sounders FC; Bellevue, Washington), Jacob Davis (Defender, Sporting Kansas City; Rochester, Michigan), Johan Gomez (Forward, Eintracht Braunschweig/GER; Keller, Texas), John Pulskamp (Goalkeeper, Sporting Kansas City; Bakersfield, California)

Marta Named to Brazil’s Women’s Soccer Team for 6th Olympic Games

Marta is bracing for her final Olympic bow…

The 38-year-old Brazilian professional footballer who plays as a forward for the Orlando Pride in the National Women’s Soccer League has been named to Brazil‘s women’s soccer team for the 2024 Paris Games by coach Arthur Elias.

MartaMarta, widely considered one of the best women’s players in history, had previously said she intends to retire from the national team after playing in the Olympics for the sixth time.

The Orlando Pride forward has two silver medals after Brazil lost to the United States in the final of both the 2004 and 2008 tournaments, but has never won gold.

In 2021 in Tokyo, Marta became the first player to score in five consecutive Olympics.

“She brings a lot to the table, she’s the greatest athlete of all time,” Elias said of Marta. “She’s playing well, she deserved to be on this list.

“Marta’s performance, especially after she came back to play for her club, which is fighting for the top spot in the U.S., her behavior, with or without the ball, makes all the athletes see her as an example.

“I have the challenge of finding a way of playing to maximize her game. But she knows that you can only win with everyone.”

Elias said at a news conference that he wanted a mix of experience and young talents, with an eye toward the future. Brazil will host the 2027 edition of the Women’s World Cup.

Half of the players in the Olympic team also played for Brazil at last year’s World Cup under Elias’ predecessor, Pia Sundhage. Other veterans, such as strikers Debinha and Cristiane, did not make the final list.

Brazil is in Group C of the Olympic tournament. Its first match will be on July 25 against Nigeria in Bordeaux. Japan and World Cup champion Spain are also in the group.

Hezly Rivera Earns Spot on U.S. Women’s Gymnastics Team Set to Compete at 2024 Paris Games

Hezly Rivera is heading to Paris…

Considered a long shot to make Team USA’s Women’s Olympic Gymnastics team when the U.S. trials began on Friday, the 16-year-old Latina gymnast wowed the crowd in Minneapolis — and, more importantly, the selection committee — with a clutch performance over the weekend in a pair of events that the Americans will need the most.

Hezly RiveraIn the process, Rivera earned a coveted spot on the team, finishing in fifth place behind Simone Biles, Sunisa Lee, Jordan Chiles and Jade Carey.

“I’m so grateful for everything. I’ve made a lot of sacrifices to be here, so I”m so incredibly grateful forever,” said Rivera after making the team. ”I could not be more happy. I’m ecstatic.”

Rivera, who turned 16 on June 4, started in gymnastics when coaches spotted her at a friend’s birthday party at the age of 5. Her family moved to Texas two years ago so she could train at one of the nation’s best gymnastics centers, WOGA Plano, with an eye on a weekend like this one.

“It’s crazy to me. It came so fast. I feel like it was yesterday just watching it and now the opportunity to make the team is just amazing,” Rivera said told a Dallas TV station recently.

Hezly RiveraHer four teammates competed for Team USA in the 2020 Tokyo Games. It seemed like the fifth gymnast on the team would have significant experience, too, until an unthinkable rash of injuries changed everything.

Skye Blakely, a member of the last two U.S. teams that won gold at the world championships, suffered a ruptured Achilles during training. Kayla DiCello, another strong contender to make the team, also hurt her Achilles on the vault and left the arena floor in a wheelchair. Then, in the final stunner, Shilese Jones — a virtual lock to make the team after winning a medal at the last two worlds — injured her knee and was limited to a single event at the trials.

“Simone Biles and … whoever is left standing for Paris?” read a headline in USA Today.

Unlike the do-or-die nature of the U.S. Olympic trials in other sports, Team USA only has one automatic qualifier from the event — the winner — and that was always going to be Biles. Still, given the turbulence with the injuries, most observers believed a strong performance on Sunday night could help a gymnast claim the fifth and final spot on the team.

Hezly Rivera & Team USARivera was close to perfect. She started the night with a 14.3 on the uneven bars and followed that with a 14.275 on the beam — a score that was one of the best in the competition. Those were the two apparatus that Team USA needed the most from the fifth gymnast.

Rivera finished fifth in the all-around competition with an impressive score of 111.15, two two-tenths of a point behind Carey.

Rivera’s star turn wasn’t supposed to come until 2028, although recent performances should give Team USA reason for optimism. She competed in the senior women’s division at the 2024 Winter Cup and finished third in the all-around — behind DiCello and Blakely — and, perhaps as importantly, took gold on the balance beam.

When she nailed her performance on the uneven bars earlier this month at the U.S. Championships, a video of her father, Henry, celebrating in the crowd went viral.

For NBC, the Olympics are 16-day TV show, and having the fresh-faced Rivera compete alongside the legend Biles will become a fascinating side story that will play out in primetime.

She won’t be the first Latina teenager to compete on the world stage. Laurie Hernandez, who’ll be part of NBC’s coverage from Paris, won an individual silver and a team gold medal at the 2016 Rio Games when she was 16.

Now, Hezly Rivera will try to follow in her footsteps.

“We’re going to Paris, baby!” her father, Henry Rivera, said in the crowd.

Caroline Garcia Named to France’s Olympic Tennis Team for 2024 Paris Games

Caroline Garcia will be competing at the upcoming Paris Olympics.

The 20-year-old Spanish-French tennis player, a two-time French Open doubles champion, has been selected to France’s tennis team for the 2024 Paris Games on Friday but not her frequent partner Kristina Mladenovic.

Caroline GarciaGarcia and Mladenovic won at Roland Garros — the Olympic venue next month — in 2016 and 2022. Their most recent Grand Slam appearance was at the Australian Open, where they reached the quarterfinals. They haven’t played together on tour since February.

Mladenovic is a former doubles No. 1 who has slipped to No. 55. She has nine Grand Slam doubles titles, including four French.

Garcia played only singles at the French Open this year and bowed out in the second round.

She will play the Olympic doubles with Diane Parry. Also on the women’s team were Clara Burel and Varvara Gracheva. 

Olympic tennis starts July 27.

Rafael Nadal to Play Singles & Doubles at 2024 Paris Games

Rafael Nadais set to play at the 2024 Paris Games.

The 38-year-old Spanish professional tennis player has been named to the Spanish tennis team for the Paris Olympics, where he’ll also partner with French Open champion Carlos Alcaraz in doubles, the Royal Spanish Tennis Federation has announced.

Rafael NadalNadal, who has been limited the past two years by a number of injuries, has said the Olympic Games were his focus and that he could skip Wimbledon to prepare.

“My main goal now is to play Olympics,” Nadal said after losing in the first round at Roland Garros on May 27. “That’s going to be here. So I need to prepare myself the proper way to try to arrive here healthy and well prepared, and then let’s see.”

Nadal and Alcaraz will play in both singles and doubles at the Games.

The tennis competition will be held at Roland Garros, where Nadal is a 14-time Grand Slam champion and Alcaraz just won the French Open on Sunday.

“One pair, which I think everyone knows and was hoping for, is Carlos Alcaraz and Rafael Nadal and the second pair is yet to be decided. It hasn’t been 100% confirmed yet,” national team coach David Ferrer told reporters.

Alcaraz, who will be making his Olympic debut, has set winning an Olympic medal for Spain as one of his top career goals. He said after winning at Roland Garros that this year he would prefer a gold medal at the Paris Olympics over successfully defending his Wimbledon title.

“The Olympic Games are every four years and it’s a special tournament where you’re not only playing for yourself, but for a country, representing every Spaniard,” the No. 2-ranked Alcaraz said. “I think this year I’d choose Olympic gold.”

Nadal has a singles gold medal from the 2008 Beijing Games and a 2016 gold in doubles, when he played with Marc Lopez.

Spain also selected Pablo Carreno Busta, Alejandro Davidovich and Marcel Granollers (doubles) for the men’s competition. Captain Anabel Medina picked No. 55 Sara Sorribes Tormo and No. 67 Cristina Bucsa — the top-ranked Spanish players — for the women’s team, with Paula Badosa deciding not to compete as she has only two more events to play while using her protected ranking.

Jennifer Lozano Qualifies for 2024 Paris Games by Reaching Women’s 50 Kilogram Final at Pan American Games

Jennifer Lozano is headed to the City of Lights…

The 20-year-old Mexican American boxer, a native of Laredo, Texas, has qualified next year’s 2024 Paris Games by reaching the final of the women’s 50 kilogram weight class at the Pan American Games.

Jennifer LozanoLozano was dominant in the semifinal against Canada’s Mckenzie Wright, winning 5-0.

She will face Brazil’s Beatriz Ferreira, a silver medalist in Tokyo, for the gold medal.

With the semifinal win, Lozano has given the city of Laredo its first Olympian.

Laredo has about 230,000 residents and sits on the U.S. border with Mexico.

Lozano said in a recent interview that her city, a mix of poor and better off, is “very small, very closed-minded,” and she wanted to overcome its machismo to thrive in sport.

Next year, both sides of the city will be pulling for the boxer nicknamed “La Traviesa.” It will be a different scene compared with a few years ago, when she was bullied for being overweight and a Spanish speaker.

Boxing changed it all for the hardcore fan of legend Floyd Mayweather Jr. Her other hero is her late grandmother, the main inspiration for her to compete.

“We are going to Paris, baby. La Traviesa es de Laredo, Texas. We are ready for all of the world, we are going to the Olympics,” a tearful Lozano said in a mixture of English and Spanish. “Being the first Olympian from Laredo means a lot to me.”

She celebrated her Olympic berth with family members who traveled to Santiago to watch her compete.

“I am very proud to be Mexican-American,” she said.

Laredo could get a second Olympian in Paris. Boxer Emilio Garcia, who could not secure his spot at the Pan American Games, will have two more events to try to qualify for next year in the 63.5 kilograms category.

Ricardo Acosta to Serve on One of This Year’s Toronto International Film Festival Juries

Ricardo Acosta will be working at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival.

The Latino film editor, script consultant and member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the Canadian Cinema Editors has been named to one of the juries for this year’s Toronto International Film Festival.

Ricardo AcostaAcosta, whose editing and story consulting credits include Once Upon a Time in Venezuela (2020), The Letter (2019), The Silence of Others (2018), Sembene! (2015) and Marmato (2014), will form part of the jury for TIFF’s Amplify Voices Awards.

Meanwhile, Diego Faraone will serve as a juror for 2023 FIPRESCI awards.

The Uruguayan film critic and journalist has collaborated in publications such as Dossier, El Boulevard, Guía 50 and Argentinian websites Revista Caligari and Otros Cines, among others.

The Toronto International Film Festival will run from September 7-17.

All awards will be announced on September 17 at the annual Awards Breakfast at TIFF Bell Lightbox.

“A crucial component of the film industry’s ecosystem, the annual awards presented by TIFF are dedicated to honouring creativity, vision, and excellence,” said Anita Lee, Chief Programming Officer, TIFF. “Every year, we unite to applaud the diverse array of cinematic voices with the support of respected colleagues from the global industry, and this year will be no exception.”

BEST CANADIAN FEATURE FILM AWARD
Those titles in the running are the 27 Canadian feature films in Official Selection — ranging from debut features to documentaries to films from well-established directors — will be considered for the award.

AMPLIFY VOICES AWARDS PRESENTED BY CANADA GOOSE
Canada Goose will again present the Amplify Voices Awards to under-represented filmmakers in Canada. Feature films in Official Selection by Canadian BIPOC filmmakers are eligible for the Best Feature and Best First Feature Award. The Amplify Voices Award will also celebrate a Canadian BIPOC trailblazer, recognizing a producer who has made significant contributions to the Canadian film landscape. The three winners will receive a cash prize of $10,000 each, made possible by Canada Goose.

The jurors are:
V.T. Nayani is a multi-hyphenate storyteller working across the screen industries. She is an alumni of the
Canadian Film Centre, the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television, The Gotham, and BIPOC TV & Film.
Nayani’s feature directorial debut, This Place, premiered at TIFF in 2022

Nisha Pahuja’s documentary credits include To Kill a Tiger, which won the Amplify Voices Award for Best
Canadian Feature in 2022 and fifteen other awards. Other directorial credits include The World Before Her
(2012), which received an Emmy nomination, and Diamond Road (2008).

Ricardo Acosta is a film editor, script consultant, and member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and
Sciences and the Canadian Cinema Editors. His editing and story consulting credits include Once Upon a
Time in Venezuela
 (2020), The Letter (2019), The Silence of Others (2018), Sembene! (2015), and Marmato
(2014). His films have premiered at Sundance, Cannes, and IDFA, among other international film festivals.

SHORT CUTS AWARDS
Films in the Short Cuts programme are eligible for three jury-selected Short Cuts Awards: Best Short Film, Best Canadian Short Film, and the Share Her Journey Award for best short film by a woman filmmaker. These awards provide each of the three winners with a bursary of $10,000 CAD to help them continue achieving success in their careers. Short Cuts Awards Jurors are:

Aisha Jamal is an Afghan Canadian filmmaker and film programmer. Since 2016, she has been programming Canadian films for the Hot Docs Documentary Festival. Her feature debut A Kandahar Away premiered in 2019 and is now playing on Documentary Channel and screening on CBC Gem in Canada. Her previous short films have played at venues and festivals worldwide.

Araya Mengesha is an Ethiopian Eritrean award-winning filmmaker and actor. His co-written/directed short film DEFUND was a TIFF’s Canada’s Top Ten 2021 selection after its World Premiere at TIFF ’21, collecting wins and nominations along the festival circuit, as well as becoming a Vimeo Staff Pick. As an actor, he is a Gemini Award (now called Canadian Screen Award) winner, CSA Best Lead Performer (Digital Series), and multi–ACTRA Award nominee. Currently in development is the feature film The Section based on the short work TEF, which Mengesha wrote and starred in during his residency at the Canadian Film Centre. Shasha Nakhai is a Toronto-based storyteller with more than a decade of experience. Her work has aired on the BBC, CBC, ZDF, and Arte; screened at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA); been nominated for 16 Canadian Screen Awards; named as part of TIFF’s Canada’s Top Ten; and shortlisted for an Oscar.

CHANGEMAKER AWARD
The Changemaker Award is presented to a feature film in Official Selection that explores issues relevant to
young people and is focused on themes of social change and youth empowerment. The winning film is selected by TIFF’s Next Wave Committee, a group of young film lovers who recognize cinema’s power to transform the world. All Next Wave–selected films in Official Selection are eligible, and the winning director(s) receives $10,000 CAD. In 2022, the Changemaker Award went to Luis De Filippis’ Something You Said Last Night.

PEOPLE’S CHOICE AWARD
It’s the 46th year for the Oscar Best Picture bellwhether award which is voted on by the TIFF audience. All feature films in TIFF’s Official Selection are eligible for this Award. TIFF has two other Awards also voted on by the audience: the People’s Choice Documentary Award and the People’s Choice Midnight Madness Award. The 2022 winners are The Fabelmans, Black Ice, and Weird: The Al Yankovic Story.

FIPRESCI JURY
The FIPRESCI Prize is presented by an international jury selected by the International Federation of Film Critics. Founded in 1930, the Federation awards the prize at international film festivals and film festivals of
particular importance to promote film-art and to encourage new and young cinema. The FIPRESCI Jury will award the Prize of International Critics, dedicated to emerging filmmakers for the 30th year, to one feature film having its World Premiere in TIFF’s Discovery programme. Last year’s winner was A Gaza Weekend.

The 2023 FIPRESCI jurors are:

Cem Altinsaray is a film critic with 28 years of experience in writing, editing, creating, and publishing movie magazines. He is now focused on enjoying and spreading his love of cinema at MUBI.

Elijah Baron is a Montreal-based film critic, translator, and editor, mostly known for his affiliation with 24
images, one of Quebec’s leading and oldest French-language film magazines.

Jindřiška Bláhová is a film critic and film industry analyst for the leading Czech weekly Respekt, an
editor-in-chief of the film magazine Cinepur, and a film historian.

Diego Faraone is a Uruguayan film critic and journalist. He collaborated in publications such as Dossier, El Boulevard, Guía 50, and Argentinian websites Revista Caligari and Otros Cines, among others.

Jenni Zylka is a freelance writer focusing on film, media, and music. She is head of the Perspektive
Deutsches Kino section of the Berlinale.

NETPAC JURY
Presented by the Network for the Promotion of Asian Pacific Cinema, the NETPAC Award recognizes films
specifically from the Asian and Pacific region. The jury consists of three members of the international
community selected by TIFF and NETPAC, who award the prize to the best film by an emerging Asian and/or Pacific Islander filmmaker in the Centrepiece and Discovery programmes. In 2022, the NETPAC Award went to Sweet As.

The 2023 NETPAC Award jurors are:
Sung Moon, 2023 NETPAC Jury Chair, is a programmer at the Jeonju International Film Festival.

Haolun Shu is a Shanghai-based filmmaker and teaches film directing and screenwriting at Shanghai Film
Academy.

Lalita Krishna is the Co-Chair of Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival. She is a critically
acclaimed documentary filmmaker.

Boza Signs with Loud and Live & Tesa Entertainment as First Artist of Their Global Partnership

Boza is doubling down…

The Panamanian singer-songwriter has signed with marketing and media company Loud and Live and booking agency Tesa Entertainment.

BozaThe two companies signed a global partnership deal that includes “exclusive touring and booking rights,” according to a press release, with efforts to “elevate the Latin urban genre to the next level.”

Boza, who broke out in 2020 with his hit song “Hecha Pa’ Mí” and was nominated for best new artist at the 2021 Latin Grammys, is the first artist signed under the deal.

“We’re very happy with the evolution we’ve had with Boza, and we believe that this partnership will continue to help develop our artist’s career in a positive way,” said Boza’s managers Alberto Gaitan and Andrés Castro. “We’re proud to become part of the Loud and Live and Tesa family.”

“For me, it’s an honor to become part of Boza’s growth, moving forward,” said Giovanna Pérez, CEO and founder of Tesa Entertainment. “Unity is strength and with this new partnership deal alongside Loud And Live, we’ll complement each other perfectly with resources that will offer the Artist the best live show experience globally.”

Launched in 2017, the Miami-based Loud and Live has enjoyed a strong return to touring in 2021, with more than 400 shows and tours for clients including Carlos VivesRuben BladesCamilo and Prince Royce. Tesa Entertainment was founded in 2021 by Pérez, previously at Rich Music and CMN, after working with artists such as Nicky JamSech and Manuel Turizo.

“Loud And Live is honored to join efforts with Tesa Entertainment under the leadership of Giovanna, who brings unmatched experience in the urban genre booking business,” said Nelson Albareda, CEO of Loud and Live. “This alliance expands the offering of both companies, and we’re proud to be able to offer an added value to the artists with whom we work.”

Donovan Carrillo Makes Mexican History by Reaching Figure Skating Finals at Winter Olympics

2022 Beijing GamesDonovan Carrillo has skated his way into the annals of Mexican sports history…

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.

Donovan CarrilloHe’s the first Mexican skater to reach the finals, and he’s done so despite never having trained on professional rinks.

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.

Donovan CarrilloBorn 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.

Richard Torrez Jr. Gives USA First Olympic Medal in Super Heavyweight Division in 30+ Years

Richard Torrez, Jr. was thisclose to gold, but still made history with silver…

The 22-year-old Mexican American amateur boxer lost his super heavyweight gold medal bout to Uzbekistan’s Bakhodir Jalolov, who was heavily favored going into this Olympics to win gold.

Richard Torrez Jr.

Torrez, who had a strong run to the final, did better than the last time he met Jalolov, when he was brutally knocked out by the Uzbek in 2019. He had a solid game plan of careful pressure, bursts of attack, and staying very low, as he was giving up a lot of height and reach to Jalolov in the first place, and looked to make it as tough as possible for Jalolov to establish an easy rhythm with the jab and set up power shots.

Richard Torrez Jr.

Torrez did win the majority in the first round, taking three of five cards, but Jalolov found his rhythm in the second, landing good shots every time Torrez got one in and then some. The length of Jalolov, combined with the fact that he’s also very good and not simply tall, was just too much.

Torrez’s silver medal is the first medal the U.S. has had in this division since Riddick Bowe’s silver in 1988.

Richard Torrez Jr.

But the denial of gold means that Andre Ward in 2004 remains the last U.S. men’s gold medalist in boxing.

The Team USA men did claim three silver medals this year. Along with Torrez, silvers went to lightweight Keyshawn Davis and featherweight Duke Ragan.