The Argentine rider, showjumping Olympic diploma at Rio 2016, was appointed as part of the Athlete Role Models (ARMs) program launched by the IOC. He thinks the Youth Olympic Games will be really exciting for those visiting the Argentine capital city.
“I think the Games will generate a great deal of excitement in the Argentine people. What’s important is that they are planning it so the whole Argentine people can have access to and enjoy Buenos Aires 2018.”
It was october 1979 when Justo Albarracín and his wife gave birth to their son in Curitiba, Brazil. Four years later, the Argentine couple decided to return to their country and move to to City Bell, a city in the south of Buenos Aires. That’s where the protagonist of this story started to take his first steps in equestrian sports.
After 34 years of practicing the sport that became a family tradition, Matías Albarracín thinks all of his hard work during his career earned him a really special reward: being chosen to be a part of the athletes program that will inspire the almost 4000 athletes that will compete at the Youth Olympic Games Buenos Aires 2018.
“My candidacy was promoted by the International Equestrian Federation. They asked me if I’d be available during October 2018, and I said yes, naturally. For me, the appointment promoted by the International Olympic Committee is a huge responsibility and a great honor. Being a role model for the youth at the sport that gave me everything I have in life is a great joy,” he explained.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced last week 25 out of the 50 sports stars that will be a part of the Athlete Role Models (ARMs) program, which includes six Argentines.
The athletes of this project were chosen by the 32 international federations whose disciplines are a part of the Olympic program; they will spend at least 5 days at the Argentine capital city during the Games to share their experiences with the athletes that will compete on October 6-18.
Albarracín made history for the Argentine equestrian sport when he finished in eighth place at the individual jumping finals at Río 2016, and thus obtaining an Olympic diploma. It was the country’s best performance in that discipline since Mexico 1968.
“I think the Games will generate a great deal of excitement in the Argentine people. What’s important is that they are planning it so the whole Argentine people can have access to and enjoy Buenos Aires 2018,” said the Argentine rider, silver medallist at the Pan American Games Toronto 2015 in the team jumping event with José María Larocca, Luis Birabén, and Ramiro Quintana.
“They are doing a great job at promoting the Youth Olympic Games. I think Buenos Aires 2018 will be a window for the Olympic world to see what Argentines can do, and, why not, perhaps start thinking about hosting the Olympic Games in the future,” he said.
In addition to what it will mean for Argentina to receive for the first time an event of such importance, for Albarracín, the great legacy that Buenos Aires 2018 will leave to the Argentine sports is related to the talent search program carried out by the High Performance Sports Facility (ENARD) since 2013, which included almost a million young athletes, and the Youth Olympic Park that is being built in the south of the Argentine capital city.
“There’s an extraordinary project that is being worked on to increase the pyramid of all the sports in our country, and which was critical to find young athletes from all over Argentina that dream of representing their country at the Youth Olympic Games. If we also take into account the new infrastructure that will contribute so sports here can keep on growing, it will be a game changer for the future.”
For Matías Albarracín, 2017 is coming to an end. It wasn’t a season with many competitions. After his successful performance at Río 2016, the rider left Cannavaro 9, the horse with whom he got to the finals during the last edition of the Olympic Games, and is now working with a new horse on the road to the South American Games Cochabamba 2018, the first step in the Olympic road for showjumping towards the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.
Besides planning his competitions for the year, this man who started to get on a horse at the age of 4, has already set a date next year that he won’t miss for anything in the world. “I think Buenos Aires 2018 will be an unforgettable sports and cultural celebration. For me, taking part by giving talks and being with all the kids that are coming from all around the world is truly exciting,” he underlined.