6 Latina Athletes You Should Know About
If as a kid you ever looked at your favorite athlete or super hero and decided that you wanted to emulate them in every way, then you know just how powerful role models can be.
And because role models can play such an important part in our formative years, representation matters. Strong and successful women of ethnic minorities in sports, or in any field for that matter, are important. Our children deserve to see strong, powerful women who reach for the stars, overcome obstacles, and break records in the process.
Here are 6 incredible Latina athletes that you (and your kids) should know about.
Mexican-American Brenda Martinez is a track and field athlete born in California. In 2015, she set a world record in the Distance Medley Relay at the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix in Boston, Massachusetts. After qualifying for the U.S. Olympic team in 2016 and competing in the 1500 meter race, she went on to beat her own time and set a new world record in the same DMR, at the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix in 2017.
Marta Vieira da Silva
Considered to be the greatest female soccer player of all time, the Brazilian athlete was named ‘FIFA World Player of the Year’ five times in a row from 2006-2010, and once more in 2018. Marta holds the record for scoring the most goals in the FIFA tournament (both women’s and men’s), was the first female to score in five consecutive Olympic games, and has won two Olympic silver medals.
Dara Torres is a Cuban-American swimmer with 12 Olympic medals and a host of world records under her belt. In 2008, she was the oldest swimmer to represent the U.S. Olympic team at 41 years old. Her performance during her last games won her 3 silver medals and “put her in the ranks of Michael Phelps, Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods”, according to her coach.
Brazilian big wave surfer Maya Gabeira started surfing in Rio de Janeiro at age 15 and started competing the same year. In 2020, she broke her own world record when she surfed a 73.5 ft wave in Nazare, Portugal, which was the biggest wave surfed by anyone that year. After persevering through a near-death experience in the same waters where she broke her record, she is considered the best and most influential female surfers of all time.
Known as the Queen of BMX, the Columbian cyclist is a two-time Olympic gold medalist and a BMX World Champion. After winning her first national title at age 5 and first world title at age 9, Mariana went on to win a total of 35 championships throughout the world. She made history as the first Columbian athlete to win two gold medals, and now has three medals after winning silver in the 2020 Tokyo games.
6 ft 4 Cuban-American basketball star Rebecca Lobo played center position on the University of Connecticut’s team, and later in the WNBA. After winning a national championship, an Olympic gold medal, and being inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame, she went on to become a basketball analyst for ESPN.
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