Home Columns Mexican Athletes’ performance at the 2016 Rio Olympics

Mexican Athletes’ performance at the 2016 Rio Olympics

by Yucatan Times
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Mexican Athletes win Five Medals at the 2016 Rio Olympics

The 2016 Summer Olympic Games, held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, are now history. They were held from August 5th, 2016 to August 21st, 2016.  In Portuguese, the language spoken in Brazil, the games were referred to as Jogos Olímpicos de Verão de 2016.

Officially, these Olympics were known as the “Games of the XXXI Olympiad” and were popularly referred to as “Rio 2016.”

The Olympic Games are held every four years, the same years, coincidentally, as the U.S. presidential election.

The 2016 Rio Olympics mark only the second time that the Olympics have been held in Latin America.  The first and only previous time was that of the 1968 Olympics, held in Mexico City.

Over 11,000 athletes, from 206 National Olympic Committees, participated.  First-time teams were Kosovo, South Sudan and the Refugee Olympic Team.

Some non-independent entities field teams in the Olympics, including the U.S. autonomous territory Puerto Rico, which picked up its first gold Olympic medal thanks to tennis player Monica Puig.

The Kuwaiti team was not allowed to participate as the Kuwaiti team. Rather, Kuwaiti athletes competed under the banner of “Independent Olympic Athletes.”  This political problem didn’t stop two Kuwaiti athletes from winning medals, one gold and one bronze.

The team from Taiwan is not permitted to compete under the name “Taiwan,” nor its official name “Republic of China,” rather it competes under the designation “Chinese Taipei.”  That delegation won a gold medal and two bronze medals.

Regarding the overall medal count, the U.S.A. came in first, with a total of 121 medals, including 46 gold medals.

The medal count ranking awards points based on the types of medals won. Therefore, in the ranking table, a country with fewer medals might be ranked higher based on having a higher quantity of higher-ranked medals.

For example, China had a bigger medal haul than Great Britain, with 70 for China and 67 for Great Britain.  However, Britain was ranked second as it had one more gold medal than China, and more silver medals.

Russia was ranked #4 and Germany was ranked #5.

In this year’s 2016 Olympics, Mexican athletes won five medals (three silver and two bronze) and Mexico was ranked #61.

To compare and contrast, here are the ratings of the other medal-winning Latin American nations: Brazil (with home field advantage) was #13, Cuba was #11, Colombia was #23, Argentina was #27, Puerto Rico was in a 6-way tie for #54, Venezuela was in a 2-way tie for #65, and the Dominican Republic was in a 10-way tie for #78, the lowest placing for all teams winning medals.

Getting back to the Mexican Olympic medals, here is the list:

  1. Maria Guadalupe Gonzalez won a silver in the women’s 20 kilometer walk race.
  2. German Sanchez won a silver in diving, off the 10-meter platform.
  3. Maria Espinoza won a silver in taekwondo, in the women’s +67 kilogram division.
  4. Misael Rodriguez won a bronze in boxing, in the middleweight class.
  5. Ismael Hernandez won a bronze in the men’s modern pentathlon.(The modern pentathlon includes five events: pistol shooting, épée fencing, 200 meter freestyle swimming, show jumping (on a horse) and a 3.2 kilometer cross-country run.)

Silver medalist Lupita González (Photo: swagger.mx)

Congratulations to all the medal-winners, it’s not easy to win an Olympic medal. Nevertheless, the low Mexican medal count has been a Mexican topic of discussion for years.

The 2016 Mexican medal count is actually lower than for the London Olympics four years ago.  In 2012, the Mexican Olympic delegation garnered a total of seven medals, including a gold medal for the Mexican soccer team which defeated Brazil.  (See my report from four years ago: Mexican Olympians Won Seven Medals, including Soccer Gold).  Historically, it was Mexico’s second-highest medal count.

Four years previous to that, in the 2008 Beijing Games, Mexico’s team won two gold medals and a bronze medal.

Mexican medal counts for previous Olympics were four medals in the 2004 Athens Olympics, six medals in the 2000 Sydney Olympics, one medal in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, two medals in the 1988 Seoul Olympics, six medals in the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, two medals in the 1980 Moscow Olympics, two medals in the 1976 Montreal Olympics, and one medal in the 1972 Munich Olympics.

That brings us back to Mexico’s highest-ever Olympic medals count, in the 1968 Mexico City Olympics, during which Mexican athletes won nine Olympic medals, including three gold medals.

By Allan Wall


Allan Wall, an educator, resided in Mexico for many years.  His website is located athttp://www.allanwall.info.

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