For Mexico, meager medal count makes this an Olympics to forget

Kevin Baxter, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Olympics

TOKYO — Mexico’s 161 Olympic athletes came to Tokyo two weeks ago with both hope and promise.

Barring any surprises over the next two days, they'll be going home with just four medals, all bronze. U.S. swimmer Caeleb Dressel won more medals than that by himself. And all of his were gold.

It's Mexico's worst Olympic performance since 1996.

The most recent medal came Friday, when Mexico's soccer team avenged a group-play loss to Japan with a dominant 3-1 victory in the bronze-medal game. In addition to soccer, medals went to Gabriel Agundez and Alejandra Orozco in synchronized diving; Aremi Fuentes in women's weightlifting; and Alejandra Valencia and Luis Alvarez in mixed team archery.

Gymnast Alexa Moreno didn't win a medal, but she did make history by finishing fourth in the women's vault, missing the podium by less than a tenth of a point. She also won over her Japanese hosts.

A fan of anime cartoons, she set several of her routines to anime songs, and Japanese carmaker Toyota responded by turning Moreno into an anime character in three commercials.


Mexico also finished fourth in softball, losing to Canada by a run in the bronze-medal game, while Jorge Orozco, the first Mexican to reach a final in shooting, missed bronze in the men's trap by five points.

Mexicans finished fourth in three diving events as well. Another diver, Rommel Pacheco, announced his retirement after finishing sixth in the three-meter springboard. He'll begin a new career as a politician next month.

Then there was the embarrassing.

According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, members of the 15-woman softball team — 14 of whom were born in the U.S. — stuffed their Olympic team clothing into clear plastic bags with other garbage, making space in their suitcases for the quilts and comforters they took from their rooms in the Olympic village.


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