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Monday 13 August  2012   | Costa Rica News Home | Colombia News

Do Not Fret Costa Rica
By John Holtz

We sent a handful of big hearts, big hopes, dedicated personal training to London with a limited or no budget and expected them to come home with gold, silver and maybe even some bronze. However, they arrived in Costa Rica without medals and only to meet a damning national press that evidently expected far more than reality could provide.


There were 204 countries competing in London, some with little or no money who were up against the juggernauts like China, the USA and Russia who each invested tons of bucks. All to train and promote their athletes to win the medal count because it is “macho” and more important, an incredible source of international publicity that reaches the world at large on any given day for two weeks.

I am proud of those Ticos whose Olympic Committee is little more than a tea club than anything else and the athletes who have had to train in far less than adequate conditions compared to the developed world, rich nations and those countries that want the glory of a medal to be seen and read around the globe.

Under the circumstances, our athletes gave sport the best they could.

Think about it! We pay millions of dollars to show a sleepy sloth instead of spending that money or any of it on our Olympic athletes

Who could be more dedicated as a representative of Costa Rica than the valor of Leonardo Chacon in the Triathlon?

He was in the top twenty, then out of nowhere his racing cycle was hit, accidently, by a fellow competitor and he blacked out, was bruised from head to foot and bleeding as if making an offering to the CAJA which, by the way ,is in need of blood donations; then he got back on the bike to finish the event.
And Leonardo Chacon wrote on the Face Book wall of Simon Whitefield of Canada, a former gold and silver medalist, which was the person who erased his dream, “….it was an honor to race next to you.”

He has no animosity at all, he is a sportsman´s dream and I would like to shake his hand as a gallant winner of what sport should be.

Interestingly, more than all our faults and all of our crisis and all of our advertising, it was this single act of Chacon which reached and was embraced by the international media showing Costa Rica at its best! Despite not winning a medal, his sportsmanship and athletic dedication was seen and read worldwide.

For me Chacon is a champion in his own right, the epitome of courage and the Costa Rican press has no reason to demean our athletes for not bringing home a pot full of metal unless they can come up with a pot full of money to train them.

Like so many things in Costa Rica; there is no true program in sports, sport medicine and even less when it comes to the Olympics.

I have a friend, a very good friend named Jonathan Balin in California who is certified by USPTA as a trainer and coach of tennis as well as coach of tennis instructors. He told me it would be his dream to build and lead a team of Ticos to the Olympics. “…these kids have the physical qualities and only lack serious long term training.”

Sadly, Costa Rica cannot see it that way.

After all, we are Ticos who have a minimum budget, recognize athletics for those families who can afford it and that is not the road to a gold medal in anything; not at all.

The effort these young people gave as well as their families for 2012 London was their best, but not enough to win. Perhaps Costa Rica will never take athletics seriously enough in lieu of corruption, guns, gangs and drugs in the schools and on the street. This is a fatal flaw that haunts expats and Ticos alike.

The country needs private sponsors to cough up money and God knows there can and are hundreds if not thousands who have the means to do so and should. Every bank, retail outlet, institution, and most of all the companies that enjoy so many privileges and country branding but who fail to “give back” to our community are candidates are good candidates.

“Yes,” Claudia and Natalia Poll won medals and, “Yes”, they put our country on the historical map. But we need more, much more than the wealthy joining tennis clubs and belonging to private gyms. What we need is a “NATIONAL PROGRAM FOR ATHLETES”, sponsored by those with funds and companies that have a sense of country pride and in turn promote their businesses not to mention in the process, promote our Costa Rica.

Where is Walmart, INTEL, HP, WNS, SYKES, Boston Scientific, Dell, World Gym and many more who call our country home but do not support national causes.

And, I personally give a gold medal to Repetel, Channel 6 who televised over three hours of the closing ceremony absent of interruption. Now that is a class act.

It took six months for doña Laura to name a Minister of Sports. I question if any of those months included the surnames of Poll. True winners and worldwide recognized athletes or was this just another Liberación payback?



Vape No Fume, La Alternative Inteligente


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