Donovan Carrillo, from Guadalajara, is the first Mexican to advance to the Olympic free skate final event. Carrillo is the first Mexican male figure skating Olympian since 1992 Albertville, when Riccardo Olavarrieta dropped out after the short program.
Carrillo, left his family in Guadalajara aged 13 to live with his coach Gregorio Nunez because the rink at home closed, said his inspiration as a child was Spanish world champion and Olympic bronze medalist Javier Fernandez.
“I always wanted to be at the Olympics. I used to talk about this dream with people,” an ecstatic Carrillo told reporters after a mostly flawless program. “They were always laughing or telling me that it was impossible for a Mexican to qualify.”
Glowing after completing a short program that earned him a personal best score of 79.69, Carrillo held up his skater guards in the colors of the Mexican flag to the camera before he got into the kiss and cry.
“Besides doing my best short program during the season, I think my favorite part of this whole experience was the performance during the competition. I didn’t want it to end. I wanted to keep skating and living the Olympic dream. For me to be qualified for the free skating, it’s like a dream come true.”