A little girl among giants

deporte-panamericanosMarcia Videaux knows that the entire Exhibition Place, Canada’s largest venue, is watching her. Thousands of people in the Coliseo Ricoh arena, set up to host the gymnastic competitions, have their eyes fix on her, and far away in her native Manzanillo, everyone linked in some way or another to her career breath with her; their hearts in their mouths.

At only 15 years old, Marcia Videaux knows she only has a small margin of error if she wishes to become one of the youngest continental champions in in history. Thus, despite the pressure and demands, the noise and lights, the little girl from Granma isolates her thoughts, focusing solely on her routine, on the 82 foot runway to the apparatus.

In her mind she draws the pirouettes, remembers her practice routines, recreates the perfect execution and sets off in pursuit of her dream. She flies, turns like an enigma in the air and lands firmly rooted, igniting an explosion of cheers and applause from the Coliseo Ricoh, and the astonishment and delight of the judges, who awarded her a total score of 14.737 points.

“I’m amazed, it’s my first time at the Pan American Games and to win gold represents the best result of my career,” stated the shy young gymnast.

“It’s (vault) my favorite apparatus and I was confident that I was going to achieve a good result, above all after having competed in the World Cup in Portugal, where I won the competition. Anyway, I didn’t feel sure of the win until I saw the last competitor’s score,” she added.

Her performance was a highlight of Cuba’s gymnastics day, with Manrique Larduet in his first apparatus finals only able to secure bronze in the rings, his weakest event. The gymnast from Santiago de Cuba performed a routine with a high level of difficulty which won him 15.450, but was insufficient to defeat two giants of the sport; Brazilian Arthur Zanetti, Olympic and World champion on rings, and Donnel Whittenburg, from the U.S., world bronze medallist part of the U.S. team, who both achieved sky-high scores and performed their routines to perfection, ending with 15.725 and 15.525, respectively.

“Everyone came out with first class routines; they are Olympic and world medal holders to boot. Here, they gave it their all, and made a great effort to provide the public with the ultimate performance, who came to enjoy the spectacle to the max. I am happy to have won a medal along with them and finish with a close score,” commented Larduet.

This Wednesday, Manrique still has the vault, high and parallel bar finals, strong events for him, where he hopes to win gold. In any case, it is worth noting that the gymnastics competition has begun with promising signs from the Cuban team. “Watch out for us, Randy Leru was also ranked among the top eight in America. Its not about individual results, this is a team effort which little by little bears fruit; we want to see the Cuban flag raised in the Central American, Pan American, World and Olympic Games,” emphasized a confident Carlos Gil, Cuban coach, aware of the diamonds he holds in his hands.

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