Las patadas a veces me persiguen

Las redes sociales se han convertido en una conexión permanente del pasado. A mí me pasa con el taekwondo.

En el año 2011, Venezuela se despidió de los dobles dígitos en medallas de oro en Juegos Panamericanos. En aquella oportunidad la delegación nacional terminó en el octavo lugar con 12 preseas doradas, 27 de plata y 33 de bronce. Un número que ante la evidente caída del sistema deportivo nacional, será bastante cuesta arriba volver a disfrutar. Antes, sí, antes, apenas en 2011, el país iba a competir en estos eventos contra Colombia o la misma Argentina.

De esas 27 medallas de plata venezoalanas, una fue la del taekwondista Carlos Vásquez; quien llegó a la final de la categoría de los -80 kilogramos en medio de muchas dificultades. Vásquez hizo tremendos combates para ir a la búsqueda de la medalla de oro. Sin embargo, para buscar la gloria continental tenía no sólo que vencer al rival más fuerte de la justa, también a una terrible lesión de la cual estaba muy consciente no iba a superar.

Entró lesionado al combate, el tobillo derecho literalmente parecía un «jamón  hinchado y morado», pero así fue Vásquez a tratar de dar el resto, por encima incluso del dolor. Como se esperaba el venezolano no pudo contra el argentino Sebastian Crismanich quien a la postre levantó los colores albicelestes en lo más alto del podio.

Encuentros del destino

Poco tiempo después me encontré a Vásquez en un avión rumbo a México, si mal no recuerdo a Querétaro donde tenía que buscar su cupo a Londres 2012. Esa sería la segunda cita olímpica de Carlos, quien además fue tercero en un mundial y tenía todas las cartas para subir a un podio olímpico; en una disciplina que a Venezuela le ha dado una medalla de oro (Arlindo Gouveia)  y dos de bronce (Adriana Carmona y Dalia Contreras).

El peso de la lesión marcó las posibilidades de aquel muchacho que hoy es salón de la fama del taekwondo mundial. Meta que sí completó su rival argentino Sebastián; quien no sólo alcanzaría el cupo a los Juegos Olímpicos, si no que también logró la máxima gloria para su país tras ganar la medalla de oro en el famoso London Excel de la capital británica en 2012.


Lee también de Juan José Sayago


El tiempo de manera implacable pasa, sucede ahora mismo mientras lees esta columna. En julio de 2018, durante un juego de fútbol en la ciudad de Richmond Virginia entre el Espanyol de Barcelona y los Richmond Kickers, algo me llamó poderosamente la atención. Una de las personas que estaba encargadas de la organización de aquel partido amistoso se me hizo conocida. La verdad no daba con él, hasta que un comentario sobre los Juegos Olímpicos nos hizo entrar en un lugar común. 

Se trataba nada menos que de Nicolás García Hemme, otro que sufrió con los pies de Sebastián. Nicolás fue la medalla de plata de Londres 2012 de la división de los -80 kilogramos, es decir la de Vázquez y también la del argentino Crismanich.

Con Nicolás García Hemme / Archivo Sayago

La conversación con él no fue sobre taekwondo. Nicolás hoy es el encargado de las operaciones de la Liga Española de Fútbol en los Estados Unidos. Él confiesa que nunca fue aficionado del balompié, pero el deporte lo llevó a estudiar gerencia deportiva. Por ende, la propia vida le fue llevando al lugar que hoy ocupa en una de las ligas más importantes de todo el mundo.

Un año más tarde, en 2019, me tocó ir a trabajar en los Juegos Panamericanos de Lima. Pasados los días en la villa, mi sorpresa fue encontrarme con uno de los representantes del Comité Olímpico Internacional, como atleta modelo. Se trataba nada menos que del campeón Olímpico Sebastián Crismanich en taekwondo; quien en ese rol, y ya retirado, fue a formar parte de la fiesta más importante del deporte de América. Ahí estaba el campeón con quien además compartí un par de veces más durante los Juegos, recordando momentos de Guadalajara, Londres y de la vida en general.

Con Sebastian Crismanich / Archivo Sayago

A Vásquez no lo he visto más. Sin embargo, tras publicar en redes sociales la foto de mi encuentro con Nicolás García Hemme, él reaccionó rápidamente. Sostuvimos una conversación muy amena y rememoramos ese momento de México; que quizá pudo haber sido su momento y que una lesión le alejó de cosas más grandes. Él tiene definido cómo actuar, sé que va leer a Triángulo Deportivo y, como cada año, le quedará una sonrisa en la boca por al menos haber intentado dar más que sus propias capacidades físicas. 

Hoy mi medalla de oro sentimental va para Carlos Vásquez. De él aprendí que el dolor hay que vivirlo, para poder entender que se puede ganar en cualquier espacio de la vida. 

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