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Tapatios pay any price to support Olympic heroes

August 6, 2012

With half of Mexico’s six medalists being from Guadalajara, the London 2012 Olympic Games have already given Tapatios much to smile about.

The city’s athletes are receiving strong and typically Mexican-style support from their families, who would not have missed the Olympics for the world.

When Guillermo Torres competes in the men’s freestyle wrestling on August 10 he will be cheered on by his mother, Irma Patricia Cervantes Ceja, dancing in the stands dressed as a plumed Aztec warrior.

Cervantes also danced in costume during the Guadalajara 2011 Pan American Games, spurring her son on to win a silver medal. Her antics caught the attention of Quetzalcotal Oregel, president of the Jalisco Wrestling Association, who gifted her a seashell to touch for good luck.

“I think of it as my good luck charm because the first time I touched it was in the Pan American Games and it worked,” Cervantes said.

Unfortunately she has not taken the shell to London as  she would not be permitted to bring it into the arena where her son will be wrestling, but Cervantes has immersed herself in other unorthodox methods to support her firstborn warrior.

By visiting casinos in Guadalajara, she has managed to raise funds to support her son throughout his career, most recently raising the 30,000 pesos the trip to London is costing her.

For families living on a Mexican wage, supporting their offspring in the United Kingdom can be prohibitively expensive. Flights from Guadalajara to London currently cost upwards of 22,000 pesos, while prices in London, already one of the most expensive cities in Europe, have been inflated due to the increased demand during the Olympic Games.

The families of Tapatio divers and silver medalists Ivan Garcia and German Sanchez did everything they could to ensure they made it to London. The latter’s parents spent almost 80,000 pesos, but “everything was worth it and now we leave with the satisfaction of having seen our son go up on the podium,” said father German Sanchez Molina.

“It’s important to support the kids in a really important situation like this and ‘El Pollo’ asked us to come and accompany him. We’re very happy,” said Ivan’s father Jose Ramon Garcia.

He had to take out a five-year loan to cover the costs of the 15-day trip, which totalled 100,000 pesos per person for the thirteen family members who made the sporting pilgrimage.

“All the expenses have been worth it because this is a dream that many have and now we have realized it. Ivan always said he wanted to be in the Olympic Games and now he has gifted us with a medal,” his father said.

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