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Venezuela: Fencing Win Brings First Gold Medal in 44 years

This post is part of our special coverage London 2012 Olympics.

Social networks in Venezuela enthusiastically celebrated the gold medal won by Rubén Limardo in the London Olympic Games. Shortly after the end of the duel, the blogosphere was inundated with the news and the tag #VamosLimardo became a global trending topic on Twitter. In this way, the people of Venezuela celebrated Limardo's hard work in a sport that is quite unusual for the country, and discussed the support that Limardo did not receive from the nation and its organizations.

With Limardo's olympic medal, internet media kicked off a period of celebration, amidst the on-going social and economic crisis. Similarly, and in spite of several attempts to politicize the news, it was also noted how both sides of the painful political division found something to agree upon, thanks to the efforts that brought an olympic gold to Venezuela after 44 years.

Profeballa, in his blog Venezuela and its History [es], points out that one of the great contributions of Limardo is the start of Venzuela's participation on new global stages:

Conocido mundialmente por sus reinas de belleza, riqueza petrolera y afición al beisbol, el oro olímpico del esgrimista Rubén Limardo profundiza la incursión de Venezuela en el deporte mundial, con futbolistas jugando en Europa, y triunfos en disciplinas como Fórmula 1 y golf.

Known around the world for their beauty queens, oil richness, and love of baseball, the olympic gold of fencer Rubén Limardo deepens Venezuela's foray into the sporting world, with soccer players in Europe, and successes in sports like Formula 1 and golf.

Kira Kariakin, on the other hand, reflected on the constraints faced by those that aspire to participate in sports:

Every time the Olympic Games come round, we think about the inequalities of the world. It seems somehow immoral, that huge amount of money spent on infrastructure, advertising and so on when so much could be done with it for the poor in the country hosting the games or elsewhere. We also think about the poor or underdeveloped countries that send delegations which don’t perform as wished, overwhelmed as they are by the power of the Chinese, Americans, Russians, Australians, Germans and all the other big medal-winning nations. Not to forget about the politics and struggles surrounding the games.

And more specifically, in regards to Venezuela:

Caricature of Edo(*), used with permission.

In Venezuela, sports are politics not policy […] Our young at universities and schools don’t have scholarships or logistical support for their studies when they’re good at sports. […] And there are always problems: insecurity and crime around the venues, not enough infrastructure, “missing” resources, internal quarrels in federations, inefficiency and no serious implementation of any comprehensive policy. In Venezuela it takes a truly “Olympic” effort for any person to achieve excellence in any discipline because everything is stacked against them.

(*)The text in the caricature of Edo “Gloria al bravo Limardo” [Glory to the brave Limardo] makes references to the title of Venezuela's national anthem: “Gloria al Bravo Pueblo” [Glory to the Brave People]

Ernesto Rondón [es], meanwhile, highlighted the historical importance of Limardo's medal:

Desde 1968, Venezuela no ganaba una medalla de Oro Olímpica […] Desde hace 108 años Latinoamérica no ganaba la medalla de Oro en esgrima […]. Ahora [en] agosto del 2012, un venezolano luego de unos largos 44 años , nuevamente se baña en Oro en unos juegos olímpicos […]

Venezuela has not won an Olympic gold medal since 1968 […] Latin America has not won a gold medal in fencing for 108 years […]. Now [in] August of 2012, after 44 long years, a Venezuelan is again bathed in gold at the Olympic Games.

On Twitter, the platform on which most of the discussions took place, some users highlighted the controversy surrounding Venezuela's limited participation in the training of athletes.

For example, Elizabeth Fuentes (@fuenteseliz) [es] quotes Limardo and points out:

@fuenteseliz: Ruben Limardo en su Twitter(19 de Marzo) denunció que clasificó sin apoyo del Ministerio del Deporte

@fuenteseliz: Ruben Limardo on his Twitter (March 19) reported that he ranked without the support of the Ministry of Sport

However, other users like Oriana Anzola (@Orianaanzo) [es], emphasized the conciliatory nature of the gold medal:

@Orianaanzo El ORO de Ruben Limardo, hoy borró del vocabulario las palabras chavista y oposición, para darle paso a VENEZOLANOS

@Orianaanzo Today, Ruben Limardo's GOLD has removed the words Chavista [Chávez supporter] and opposition from our vocabulary, to make way for VENEZUELANS

Some, like @e_M_es [es], formed a clever play on words in this way:

@e_M_es: #VamosLimardo, asperezas..

@e_M_es: #VamosLimardo, asperezas.. [The play on words comes from the phrase in Spanish "limar asperezas", which means to overcome difficulties and forget differences, and its similarity to the name Limardo.]

Lastly, in the middle of the great avalanche of comments and conversations on Twitter, the typical humor of the Venezuelans couldn't be left out.

As Andrés Suzzarini (@Andreszz86) [es] says:

@Andreszz86: Tantos Años viendo [El Zorro] por tv valieron la pena #VamosLimardo

@Andreszz86: So many years watching [Zorro] on tv was worth it #VamosLimardo

And “Simón Bolívar” (@elsimonbolivar) [es] comments:

@elsimonbolivar: #VamosLimardo ahora te toca aprender a pelear desde el caballo

@elsimonbolivar: #VamosLimardo now it's your turn to learn to fight upon a horse

This post is part of our special coverage London 2012 Olympics.

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