Josef Martinez, the Venezuelan striker of the Atlanta United, joins a select group of Latino athletes with great achievements in disciplines not so conventional in their countries of origin
The history of Venezuelan and Latin American sports marked a new footprint last Friday, August 24. The Atlanta United striker Josef Martinez not only scored his twenty-eighth goal so far this season in the Major League Soccer (MLS), he also broke the historic record of the league that until that day he shared with Roy Lassiter, Chris Wondolowski and Bradley Wright-Phillips.
Leer en español: Más allá del fútbol: Estos latinos se destacan en otros deportes
This is undoubtedly a historical record for the 25 year old athlete of the vinotinto team. First, because he did it when at that moment there were eight games left in the campaign, which leaves open the opportunity to expand the scoring figure to a much larger amount. Second, because he succeeds despite the fact that soccer is not a traditional sport in Venezuela and without being this country a world power in this sport.
However, what have been the main milestones reached by Latino athletes in non-traditional disciplines for some of the countries in the region? Here we present you some of the most talked about cases.
We started with Roberto "Manos de Piedra" Durán, a former boxer who despite being from a country with little sports tradition, as is the case of Panama, he became one of the best boxers of all time, with a record of 103 wins, 16 losses and 70 knockouts. According to Lo Mejor del Boxeo (LMB), the Panamanian is considered the greatest Latin American boxer of all time.
In fact, "El Cholo" won a world title in 7 different categories, starting from light and even middleweight, and even won the unified title of the WBA and the WBC after defeating Sugar Leonard, the best of the time, according to information from the same media.
Currently, Brazil is a benchmark for racing. However, the legacy of Ayrton Senna gave this nation much more status within this discipline. Ayrton is not only considered one of the best racers in the history of Formula 1, but of all the world sport.
According to the newspaper As of Spain, Ayrton had three titles of the highest category, with 40 triumphs of big prizes and 80 podiums, he was an unique figure for Brazilian racers and of course Latin Americans. All this evidently achieved before his painful death in the race that fateful May 1, 1994, an event that had not been consummated would have given him the possibility of extending much more his greatness.
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If there is an athlete who imposed his conditions without being from an uncommon country for that discipline, that was the player Edgar Renteria. For 16 years in the Major Leagues, the Colombian conquered two World Series rings, achieving in both the unstoppable to give the final victory to their respective teams.
According to ESPN, Renteria is considered one of the best Latino baseball players of all time, with two gold gloves and three silver bats. In addition, he was the most valuable player in the 2010 World Series, played six times in the All-Star Game and has a career-high average of 280 and 140 homers.
At 41, the recently retired Emanuel "Manu" Ginóbili is considered the best Latin American basketball player of all time and one of the best in the history of the NBA. The native of Bahía Blanca, Argentina, is a reference in the best basketball in the world not only for having won 4 championships with the San Antonio Spurs, but also for opening the doors of many other sportsmen from this region to the selective planet of the giants.
According to ESPN, Manu, after 16 years of career in the NBA, accumulated two calls to the All-Star Game and was chosen three times among the best men in the league. To these records are added his Olympic gold reached in Beijing 2008, appointment in which he led the Argentine National Team to glory.
Other big names
Despite the fact that some great athletes are left out of this list, we cannot fail to mention other important names, who also surprised the world by taking their nations to recognition from not so traditional sports in these nations. They are:
- The Mexican Lorena Ochoa, golf
- The Venezuelan Juan Arango, soccer
- The Argentine Juan Martin del Potro, tennis
- The Colombian Juan Pablo Montoya, Formula 1
- The Puerto Rican Mónica Puig, tennis
LatinAmerican Post | Freddy González
Translated from "América Latina no es solo fútbol: Estos son los latinos que se destacan en otros deportes"