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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Puerto Rico’s Paris Olympics delegation is finalized

The Puerto Rico Paris Olympics 2024 delegation (COPUR)

By The Star Staff

The T-Mobile District was flooded earlier this week with flashes of red, blue and white to welcome the Puerto Rico delegation that will compete from July 26 to Aug. 11 in the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.

Dozens of people flocked to Old San Juan on Monday to cheer for and get to know their Olympic athletes up close.

A parade of track & field athletes, the women’s and men’s basketball teams, and qualifiers in tennis, shooting and archery, to name a few -- all dressed in the official attire of blue shirt and red pants -- elicited shouts and applause from those present.

“There is a lot of excitement coming in 18 days. There is much work to be done,” Puerto Rico Olympic Committee President Sara Rosario Vélez said to open her speech. “But … with great joy we are going to present our delegation to you.”

The official offered a detailed explanation of the composition of #TeamPUR, along with a data-filled tour of Puerto Rico’s participation in the Olympic Games from Sydney 2000, where 29 athletes participated (six women and 23 men) to Tokyo 2020 with 37 athletes (24 women and 13 men), as a way of contextualizing the goal of 40 or more athletes that was more than met for Paris 2024. The quota exceeded the organization’s expectations with some 51 athletes -- 27 men and 24 women -- with the inclusion of the men’s basketball team, which defeated Lithuania on Sunday to seize the final Olympics berth in that sport.

Puerto Rico will compete in Paris in track & field, 5×5 basketball in both the men’s and women’s divisions, boxing, diving, golf, judo, wrestling, swimming, skateboarding, archery, table tennis, rifle shooting and sailing.

“In Tokyo we went with 37 athletes, at COVID time. That qualification was very difficult,” Rosario Vélez said. “And now, today, in Paris 2024, we will have a delegation made up of 51 athletes, exceeding the goal of this Olympic Committee, which always sets a goal and intends to achieve it. Our goal was 40 and we achieved 51, which speaks very well of the work of our federations, the High Performance Department and all the athletes who accompany us.”

In a moment of high excitement, Rosario Vélez introduced, name by name, the men’s and women’s basketball teams. The public and qualifying athletes from other sports paid honor to both teams, especially the men’s squad, who are making a triumphant return to the Games after last participating in Athens 2004.

Among all the data presented by Rosario Vélez, one very relevant one caused the eyes of the athletes to shine -- the bonus for each medal that the winning athletes will receive: $50,000 for a gold medal, $30,000 for silver and $20,000 for bronze.

“All of these athletes have the potential to get on the podium,” she said. “Getting on the Olympic podium is not easy. For many of them the dream is only to qualify for the Olympic Games. For others, the dream goes further and that is what we should aim for. We have already lost our fear of the podium. Twelve years ago Puerto Rico had an Olympic medal drought. In London two medals were won with a silver from [wrestler] Jaime Espinal and a bronze from [hurdler] Javier Culson. Before that we had won six boxing medals.”

“In Rio the unexpected happened,” Rosario Vélez continued. “Fairy tales exist and when one has a dream it can be achieved, which all of Puerto Rico celebrated on August 13, 2016, with Mónica Puig’s gold medal [in women’s tennis singles]. We went to Tokyo with the great hope that [hurdler] Jasmine [Camacho Quinn] was a great competitor and a possible medalist. And, on August 2nd, the first day there … Jasmine also won an Olympic gold medal.”

The Paris Olympics will begin on Friday, July 26 at 2 p.m. Eastern time with the Opening Ceremony. Competition begins the next day.

The Puerto Rico Paris 2024 delegation

Jasmine Camacho Quinn, track & field, 100-meter hurdles & standard bearer; Ayden Owens Delerme, track & field, decathlon; Gabriela Scott, track & field, 400 meters; Gladymar Torres, track & field, 100 meters; Grace Claxton, track & field, 400 meters; Jerome Vega, track & field, hammer throw; Luis Joel Castro, track & field, high jump; Rachelle D’Orbeta, track & field, 20-kilometer walk; Allison Gibson, basketball, women’s 5×5; Ahlana Smith, basketball, women’s 5×5; Arella Guirantes, basketball, women’s 5×5; Brianna Jones, basketball, women’s 5×5; India Pagán, basketball, women’s 5×5; Isalys Quiñones, basketball, women’s 5×5; Jackeline Benítez, basketball, women’s 5×5; Mariah Pérez, basketball, women’s 5×5; Mya Hollinshed, basketball, women’s 5×5; Pamela Rosado, basketball, women’s 5×5; Sofia Roma, basketball, women’s 5×5; Tayra Meléndez, basketball, women’s 5×5; Trinity San Antonio, basketball, women’s 5×5; Aleem Ford, basketball, men’s 5×5; Arnaldo Toro, basketball, men’s 5×5; Christopher Ortiz, basketball, men’s 5×5; Davon Redd, basketball, men’s 5×5; George Conditt, basketball, men’s 5×5; Gian Clavell, basketball, men’s 5×5; Isaiah Piñeiro, basketball, men’s 5×5; Ismael Romero, basketball, men’s 5×5; Jordan Howard, basketball, men’s 5×5; José Alvarado, basketball, men’s 5×5; Stephen Thompson Jr., basketball, men’s 5×5; Tremont Waters, basketball, men’s 5×5; Ashlyann Lozada, boxing; Juanma López Jr., boxing; Maicey Vieta, diving; Rafael Campos, golf; Adrián Gandía, judo; María Pérez, judo; Sebastián Rivera, wrestling & standard bearer; Darian Cruz, wrestling; Ethan Ramos, wrestling; Jonovan Smith, wrestling; Kristen Romano, swimming; Yeziel Morales; swimming; Steven Piñeiro, skateboard; Alondra Rivera, archery; Adriana Díaz, table tennis; Brian Afanador, table tennis; Daniel González, table tennis; Yarimar Mercado, rifle shooting; Pedro Fernández, sailing, ILCA 7.

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