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Argentina Dreams about Having its Best Olympic Performance in Rio

Argentina Dreams about Having its Best Olympic Performance in Rio

Posted by PanamericanWorld on March 22, 2016

Four years ago, in London Olympic Games, the Argentinean delegation barely won four medals and went down to the 42nd position. Now, in the edition of the Olympic Games to take place in Rio de Janeiro, many people expect the South American country to increase the number of medals and deliver their best historic performance in Olympic Games.

Argentina has participated in 23 out of the 26 editions of the Olympic Games and the peak moment was witnessed in London, 1948, when the Argentinean athletes collected seven medals, three of which were golden. All in all, the Argentineans total 18 gold medals, so the country occupies the 40th position in the medal count.

Boxing has been the most outstanding individual sport for Argentina as the country has conquered seven titles and 24 medals, although this modality lost momentum since 1968, so that country’s fighters have only won one medal to date. As for team specialties, soccer stands out with two gold medals in consecutive editions of the Games: Athens 2004, where the team didn’t allow a single goal, and Beijing 2008, with Lionel Messi leading the team.

As the most remarkable Argentinean athletes in Olympic Games, we can mention sailor Carlos Espinola and field hockey player Luciana Aymar, since both got four medals. Espinola won two silver medals in Mistral Class, in Atlanta and Sidney, and two bronzes in Tornado Class, in Athens and Beijing. On the other hand, Aymar was a member of the Lions, a great team that climbed to the podium in four consecutive editions of the Olympic Games, 2000 - 2012, with two silver medals and two bronzes.

Two Argentinean athletes have been on the top of the podium: soccer player Javier “el Jefecito” Mascherano, champion in 2004 and 2008, and polo player Juan Nelson, champion in 1924 and 1936.

What can we expect from Argentinean athletes in Rio 2016?

The closest precedent, similar to the Olympic Games, took place in Toronto Pan Am Games, summer 2015. At the Canadian city, Argentina got the same results it did in Guadalajara 2011, by finishing seventh, with 74 medals. In Rio, the main hopes are focused on several team sports and some individual specialties.

PAULA PARETO, BRILLIANT ON THE TATAMI

Judoka Paula Pareto, who fights in the 48 kg division, had a great 2015, since she conquered the title in the World Championship, although she was defeated by Cuban Dayaris Mestre in the final of Toronto Pan Am Games. Pareto already knows what winning an Olympic medal means, because she got a bronze in Beijing Olympic Games. Will she be able to improve that position in Rio? She’s the athlete with the highest possibilities in individual sports.

WITHOUT MESSI, BUT WITH CHANCES TO GET THE TITLE

The Argentinean soccer team is going to face two consecutive events in summertime: the Centenario edition of America Cup and Rio Olympic Games. For the first event, technical director Gerardo Martino will summon his best players, from Lionel Messi to Sergio “el Kun” Agüero; but a totally different team will go to the Olympic Games, made up of under-23 athletes and three reinforcements. The Olympic soccer is not included in FIFA’s official calendar, so the clubs are not compelled to let the players go.

Soccer has been the best team sport for Argentina in Olympic Games, with two titles in a row. Mascherano has participated in both, but he’s not likely to play in Rio.

LIONS WILL TRY TO ROAR ON THE PODIUM

The Argentinean field hockey Lions have stood out as one of the most complete teams of the world over the past two decades; although they don’t have an Olympic title. They made it to the final in two out of the past four editions of the Olympic Games and they lost them, in 2000 against Australia and, in 2012, against Holland.

In Rio, the team will be missing its leader, Luciana Aymar, but the girls, headed by Santiago Capurro, dream about becoming champions.

THE LAST CHANCE FOR THE “GOLDEN GENERATION” OF BASKETBALL

In Athens Olympic Games, 2004, the Argentinean basketball team amazed the experts, by defeating the United States—which included NBA players—and winning the Olympic title. Afterwards, in Beijing, the “Golden Generation”, still with Manu Ginobili, was back on the podium, in the third position.

The results were not any better in London and now, in Rio, the “Golden Generation” will have its last chance, before clearing the way from young players. Another medal would be a great farewell for Luis Scola, “Chapu” Nocioni or Pablo Prigioni.

The Argentinean athletes were included in the so-called “toughest group”, since they’ll be competing against Spain, Lithuania, Brazil, Nigeria and the last rival is going to be decided in a pre-Olympic tournament.

How about the rest?

Argentina could have other surprises in terms of team sports, perhaps with the men’s field hockey and volleyball; moreover, the rugby 7 team could also be near the podium, a sport that will be making its debut in an Olympic Games.

Yachting would be another medal choice, a sport in which Argentina has gotten at least one medal over the past five editions of the Olympic Games. The delegation already owns 11 tickets and some of the athletes included on the list are Lucia Falasca, Lucas Calabrese, Juan de la Fuente and Santiago Lange and Cecilia Carranza Saroli, in Nacra 17.

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