Latinas in the Olympics

If you were one of the millions of people who tuned into the 2012 Summer Olympics, you may have noticed that female athletes ruled the games. Women from all over the world were stealing both hearts and gold medals. A total of 58 medals were won just by the women of Team USA! If you think that is amazing, you may also be shocked at the number of Latinas that contributed to that medal count. From water polo to boxing, Team USA had some amazing Latinas representing us. Not only are these women the best at what they do, they are also educated, beautiful and so very strong. So get inspired by these amazing Latinas that have broken barriers and made Olympic history.

Marlen Esparza

Marlen joined Team USA for the very first time this year. At 5’3 and 112 pounds, you would never guess that she is the first American woman to qualify for the Olympics in the first year that women’s boxing was an Olympic event. Marlen is a 23 year old Mexican-American from Houston, Texas. Marlen is as beautiful as she is fierce; she is also the first American amateur boxer to be signed with Cover Girl cosmetics! Things weren’t always so easy for Marlen though. She admits to being bullied in high school, an experience that turned her into a troublemaker especially with girls. When she was 12, Marlen began training with her coach, and she began to notice some changes. By the time she graduated from Pasadena High School, she was class president and graduated in the top 2%of her class. Marlen went on to win a bronze medal at this year’s Olympics. She is the first American woman to earn a boxing medal. Marlen informed the media that she would be retiring to attend college in hopes of becoming an anesthesiologist.

Diana Lopez

Diana who is 28 years old is an American Olympic Taekwondo competitor. Diana is a world champion in Taekwando. While she didn’t medal this year, she did win a bronze medal at the 2008 Beijing games. She is from Sugar Land, Texas and her parents are originally from Nicaragua. Diana’s parents got her and her older brothers started in Taekwondo at very young age. She was just six years old when she got started! Diana along with her older brothers became the first trio of siblings to all medal at an Olympic Games. Diana is also an instructor at the Lopez Taekwando Academy which was started by her oldest brother. To add to her amazing talents, Diana is working on an undergraduate degree at The University of Houston, and wants to continue working towards her masters in education! Diana tells that she loves being a rolemodel for Latinas and shares that, “Latinas are beautiful strong and confident.”

Brenda Villa

Brenda has competed four times on the U.S. water polo team, and this year she was the squad captain. She is 32 years old and originally from Los Angeles California, where her parents immigrated to from Mexico. Brenda joined her first swim club at the age of six. While in high school, she played on the boys’ water polo team since there wasn’t a girls’ team! Since then, Brenda won a bronze medal at the 2004 Athens Olympics, a silver medal at the 2000 Sydney Olympics and 2008 Beijing Olympics. This year as team captain, she helped lead the US American Water Polo team to their first gold medal win in four Olympic games! Brenda is now the most decorated woman’s water polo athlete. She also graduated from Stanford University with a degree in political science. Brenda co-founded a non-profit organization called Project 2020 which helps give children with lower resources a chance to learn how to swim and play team sports.

Amy Rodriguez

Amy is a member of the United States women’s national soccer team and a two-time gold medalist. Amy helped her team win gold at the 2008 Beijing games and again at this year’s London games. Amy is 25 years-old and from California and her father is from Cuba. Less than a month after her 18th birthday Amy began playing with the U.S. national team. Amy graduated from The University of California where she played with the USC Trojans women’s soccer team and majored in psychology. Amy has tied a U.S. record by scoring five goals in one match! After soccer Amy says she would like to pursue a career in counseling or nursing.

Sarah Robles

Sarah who is 23 years old is known as the strongest woman in America. Sarah is a three-time national champion, and this summer was her first time competing for Team USA. Sarah finished seventh out of 14 lifters in her weight class. Sarah is from California, and her great-grandparents immigrated from Mexico. After Sarah’s high school track and field coach got her into weightlifting training, there was no going back even despite the fact that she deals with an arm deformity that causes a lot of pain during lifting. To add to all that physical strength, she is a body image activist who’s mantra is “Beauty is Strength.” Sarah has her own blog where she encourages girls to follow their dreams and be confident about themselves. Check out Sarah’s awesome blog at

Inspired yet? To read more on these amazing Latinas and a few others check out their Olympic athlete profiles on


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