On our last full day in Mexico, I thought it would be appropriate to highlight one of their star athletes for this week’s Olympian to Watch. After asking around and doing some research, I was surprised to find out that Mexico excels in Taekwondo. In fact, in the 2008 Olympics they took home two gold medals in the sport. One of those medalists was Guillermo Pérez Sandoval, who will be returning to Olympic Games this year in London.
Guillermo started his career in Taekwondo at the young age of 5, inspired by Bruce Lee movies. His successes came early with his first big win at age 10 which threw him into the international competition circuit. With his win in the 2008 Olympics, Guillermo became a national hero. With only 55 medals in the country’s history, he has become one of the elite athletes and has gained a great deal of notoriety. Upon his Olympic win, Guillermo told interviewers that the Mexican president called him and said he was the pride of their country. The president of Mexico’s World Taekwondo Federation also credits Guillermo and Maria Espinoza’s Olympic wins for the growing popularity of the sport in Mexico. There are now over 1.5 million people who practice the sport.
Olympic Sport: Taekwondo
Hometown: Uruapan, Mexico
Birthdate: October 14, 1979 (age 32)
Height: 5’7″ (8 inches taller than me)
Weight: 127 lbs.