García Padilla vows protest over “theft” to Franklin Gómez
SAN JUAN– Governor Alejandro García Padilla proposed to raise a protest letter to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for the “theft” committed to Olympic wrestling athlete Franklin Gómez.
“We will not forget the theft to Franklin Gómez,” affirmed Puerto Rico’s chief executive during the acknowledgement ceremony held in Palacio de Santa Catalina for the athletic delegation that represented the island in the Rio 2016 Olympics.
The Puerto Rico Olympic Committee (Copur) and its Wrestling Federation will add their input to the international-level denouncement. The referees in Gómez’s match were immediately suspended for not counting adequately the scores that resulted in an 8-5 loss for the Dominican-Borincan. An international investigation awaits.
The Governor indicated that he joins his voice to the Copur’s, “and with it every Puerto Rican’s [voice]. And soon I will publish the letter I’ll be sending [to the IOC].”
“Sport is noble when it’s just. Franklin Gómez was robbed from his medal in Rio and we must see if the International Olympic Committee will conform with the timid action, very timid, of suspending the judges and if it will overlook this injustice. We Puerto Ricans will not forget the theft committed to Franklin Gómez,” he maintained before an audience summoned to La Fortaleza’s premises to show support to the athletes.
Some of the attendees were employees from government offices based in Old San Juan and their bosses, such as Luis Batista Cruz, from the Office of Management and Budget.
García offered Gómez and even Culson, in compensation, a medal with the emblem of the Puerto Rican flag. Culson had an improbable false start and was thereupon disqualified from his race, in which he had hopes of landing among the first three. He had won the bronze medal in the London 2012 Olympics.
“It’s so good to be Puerto Rican”
In those moments, as he hung the medals, the concert band of Puerto Rico, directed by Cucco Peña played the Commonwealth’s anthem. The band entertained the entire activity that began at 1:10 p.m., when the Governor, the athletes and sports officials peeked from the Palacio de Santa Catalina’s balcony to make salutations.
Tennis player Mónica Puig was distinguished among the other athletes, as she attained Puerto Rico’s first ever Olympic gold medal in its 68 years participating in the Olympic Games.
“It’s so good to be Puerto Rican,” exclaimed García padilla in a message in which he appealed to the athletic representation as a symbol of Puerto Rican identity.
“Patriotism is not always where you are born, but always where you are nourished,” he added, and then proceeded to reveal an anecdote in which hurdles runner Jazmine Camacho-Quinn was asked from the United States, via Twitter, if she would be willing to try to join the American team for the next Olympics, to which he replied no, “Puerto Rico is the best.”
“What’s important is that today we reaffirm our Olympic vocation,” maintained the Governor, reminding that by arriving to the most competitive stages in the Games, the athletes have justified the monetary investment in the Copur, which has doubled in these years “in crisis.”
He added in his message that when each athlete works “for what they really want, without forgetting who we are, we are sure that in 2020 (in Tokyo) we will go back to the medal podium and La Borinqueña will play more than once… and in each of the represented Puerto Ricans, waving the flag that defines us as a People, Puerto Ricans proud of who we are, and never, never willing to give that up.”
García Padilla, along with First Lady Wilma Pastrana and Copur president Sara Rosario, had already established the national pride upon the Puerto Rican flag waving “over the other flags.”
He equally distinguished with medals the athletes that managed to reach final stages of competitions and remained well-positioned, albeit without medals.
Los atletas despejaron La Fortaleza para ir en caravana hasta el hospital de niños San Jorge, en Santurce, donde se detendrían, y luego continuarían al Coliseo de Puerto Rico José Miguel Agrelot, en Hato Rey, donde les esperaba una fiesta de pueblo, con varios artistas invitados.
The athletes left La Fortaleza to ride a caravan to the San Jorge Children’s Hospital, in Santurce, where they will stop, and then continue to the José Miguel Agrelot Coliseum in Hato Rey, upon which a party awaits, with several invited artists.