La antorcha olímpica que durmió en El Llanito

Antes de los Juegos Olímpicos de Río 2016, uno de los símbolos más importantes de este evento se paseó por Caracas.

Es 25 de julio de 1992, Antonio San Epifanio hace el último relevo de la antorcha. Le entrega a Antonio Rebollo quien con la punta de su arco se da media vuelta y ¡pum! Se produce la magia. Los Juegos Olímpicos de Barcelona 92 son oficialmente inaugurados con el encendido de la llama olímpica más espectacular antes visto. Montjuic es una fiesta y el mundo entero lo celebra con una transmisión en vivo y directo desde la ciudad que albergará los Juegos de la vigésimo quinta olimpiada.

Impresionado por aquella transmisión de RCTV, y a la vez frustrado de no saber por qué el equipo de baloncesto de Venezuela no desfiló en la ceremonia inaugural (tema para otra columna); me encontré por primera vez con uno de los protocolos más antiguos y a la vez significativos en los Juegos Olímpicos. El relevo de la antorcha.

Mi pasión por el periodismo deportivo nació por la imposibilidad de ser un atleta de alto rendimiento. La verdad es que siempre fui muy malo. En otras ocasiones, he contado que este 1,92 que Dios me regaló ha servido de muy poco para hacer deporte. En la misma línea del alto rendimiento, siempre soñé con ser relevo de la antorcha olímpica; un acto reservado para grandes figuras del deporte, autoridades deportivas y personalidades de los países. 

En 2016, el periodismo me regaló la oportunidad de vivir un poco aquel sueño que siempre me he planteado desde que me comencé a dedicarme a la cobertura de eventos de este tipo. Para la fecha, trabajaba en el Comité Olímpico de Venezuela y me fue asignado hacer un recorrido por los diferentes medios de comunicación con una de las piezas originales de Río 2016.

La antorcha subió a helicópteros, fue a las radios, a la televisión, se paseó por instituciones públicas y privadas. También se tomó fotos con artistas, periodistas y, por supuesto, atletas. Todo bajo la supervisión de este servidor quien pasó por lo menos una semana con ella. 

Junto a Juan David, su hijo mayor en el recorrido por los medios / Sayago

Sin embargo, hubo un día especial. En medio de tanta euforia por estar cerca de la antorcha, los tiempos se complicaron en la convulsionada Caracas. Se hizo muy tarde y ya no podía regresar a El Paraíso desde el este de la ciudad, para llevar a aquella joya de aluminio. La antorcha estaba acompañada de vivos blancos y sombreada por las ondas que asemejan los paisajes de la primera ciudad de Sudamérica en recibir los Juegos Olímpicos.

«La antorcha tiene que dormir en la casa», le dije a mi esposa por teléfono, quien no dejaba de impresionarse por la responsabilidad que eso representaba. Y así la llevé a El Llanito, donde vivía para la fecha en casa de mis suegros. La antorcha llevó el mismo cuidado con el que Vanderlei Lima hizo el recorrido junto a ella, en dos ocasiones. Primero el 3 de mayo de ese año en Brasilia y luego cuando le tocó recibirla del último relevo el 5 de julio en el estadio Maracaná para el encendido del pebetero. 

Juan Sebastián, su hijo menor, con la antorcha / Sayago

Todavía no cumplí mi sueño de ser un relevo oficial de la antorcha olímpica. Sin embargo, pude vivir una experiencia que, sin duda, vivirá encendida en mi memoria. Para siempre.

Lee también: Edson y la estocada del destino

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