Sochi Olympics 2014: Meet Antonio Pardo, The Only Venezuelan Athlete Competing In Russia

Sochi Olympics 2014: Antonio Pardo
Antonio Pardo has the whole country of Venezuela to represent as he is the sole Olympian athlete competing in Sochi. GettyImages

Antonio José Pardo Andretta is representing his home country of Venezuela in the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games. The alpine skier caused sensation during the opening ceremony in Russia while he danced energetically around the stadium carrying the national flag. The 43-year-old Caracas native is only the fifth athlete classified to compete in the winter games, with the last appearance from the South American country in 2002. 

Pardo took up skiing recreationally in 1988 in St. Moritz, Switzerland and started racing in 2011 in Solden, Austria. He began competing with the sole purpose of qualifying for the Olympics after he became unemployed. "It is a sport made for me, being able to run and at the same time being in my usual surroundings around nature, and with my natural competitive spirit," he said. "Before I didn't have neither the time nor the resources, I had to work. I work in the financial area and with the paralyzation of the stock markets I became unemployed, so I said to myself, 'This is the moment to fulfill my dream.'"

Antonio cites as his hero the US Olympian swimmer, Michael Phelps, with his sons being the most influential people in his career. Many sources have mistakenly reported that the Olympian underwent surgery for a brain tumor at the age of 8. Seems like a Venezuelan newspaper confused Pardo Andretta with para-cross country skier Antonio Pardo Andrade. Nonetheless, Antonio José Pardo Andretta's, story is inspirational that teaches us that it's never too late to follow your dreams and start something new.

What do you think?

Armando Tinoco is an Orange County-based writer with a degree in Marketing from Cal. State Fullerton and a degree in Graphic Design from the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising. In addition to reporting for Latin Times and when he is not watching Brazilian and Mexican telenovelas or quoting lines from "Clueless" and "Friends" he is brushing up his skills in CSS and responsive website design. Some of his celebrity idols include Eiza Gonzalez, Paulina Rubio and Amanda Bynes.