On Friday, Team USA was recognized by the White House for their participation and success in this year’s Olympic and Paralympic Games in London. Nearly 30 of these Olympians and Paralympians were of Latino decent. Of the 30 Latino Olympians, 15 were able to attend the special celebration with the President, First Lady, and Vice President. As part of Hispanic Heritage month, we’d like to highlight the 15 Latino Olympic and Paralympic athletes that attended the President’s and First Lady’s remarks at the White House South Lawn, and acknowledge their contributions to the London 2012 Games.
The Latino Olympians in attendance included: Marlen Esparza- Women’s Boxing (Bronze Medalist); Giuseppe Lanzone- Rowing; Ryan Lochte- Swimming (Gold Medalist); Steven Lopez- Taekwondo; Diana Lopez- Taekwondo; Leo Manzano- Track and Field; Sarah Robles- Weightlifting; Maggie Steffens- Water Polo (Gold Medalist); Jessica Steffens- Water Polo (Gold Medalist); and Brenda Villa- Water Polo (Gold Medalist).
The Latino Paralympians in attendance included: Christella Garcia-Judo; Rudy Garcia-Tolson-Swimming; Gerard Moreno- Fencing; Mario Rodríguez- Fencing; and Oz Sánchez- Cycling.
In his remarks the President noted, “One of the great things about watching our Olympics is we are a portrait of what this country is all about -- people from every walk of life, every background, every race, every faith. It sends a message to the world about what makes America special. It speaks to the character of this group, how you guys carried yourselves. And it’s even more impressive when you think about the obstacles that many of you have had to overcome not just to succeed at the games, but to get there in the first place…That’s what sets all of you apart. That’s what sets America apart. We celebrate individual effort, but we also know that, together, we can do incredible things that we couldn’t accomplish on our own.”
Their determination, dedication, sportsmanship, and hard work were displayed at the London 2012 Games. Their contributions to Team USA have made the country and the Latino community proud.
Julie Rodriguez is the Associate Director of the Office of Public Engagement.