If I asked you about the Spanish athletes you know, you would probably come up with some of the following famous names: NBA players Pau and Marc Gasol, tennis player Rafael Nadal, Formula One driver Fernando Alonso, swimmer Mireia Belmonte or any of Spain´s national football team players. Now, what if I talked to you about Javier Fernández, Carolina Marín or Lidia Valentín? Would you know who they are and the sport they practice? If the answer is no, do not worry. I will introduce them to you.
Javier Fernández López is the current world figure skating champion. At only 23 years of age, this young man from Madrid who lives in Canada became the first Spaniard to win this title and one of the best figure skaters in history. His medal record speaks for itself:
- World champion (2015)
- Bronze medallist at the World Championship (2013 and 2014)
- Three-time European champion (2013, 2014 and 2015)
- 4th place at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi
Carolina María Marín Martín is the current European and world badminton champion (2014). This 21-year-old girl from Huelva became the first Spaniard and only the third European woman to win this title in a sport traditionally dominated by Asian players. Now she’s one of the best, and she’s dreaming of a medal in Rio 2016.
Lidia Valentín Pérez is the current European weightlifting champion in the -75 kg category. This 30-year-old woman from Ponferrada, in the northern Spanish province of León, has been a model for her fellow weightlifters for years now. Her international achievements show why:
- European champion (2014)
- Silver medallist at the European Championship (2008, 2012 and 2013)
- Bronze medallist at the European Championship (2007, 2009, 2011 and 2013)
- Bronze medallist at the World Championship (2013)
- 4th place at the 2012 Olympic Games in London
- 5th place at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing
In a country like Spain, where football federation licences account for 26% of the total number of licences, almost any sporting achievement in other sport could be considered a miracle. Nevertheless, if we have a look at the Badminton Federation (0,21%), the Weightlifting Federation (0,07%) and the Ice Sports Federation licences (0,04%), it seems more than fair to highlight the great success of Carolina, Lidia and Javier.
Now, tell me. Did you know any of them? Share your comments below!