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Opinion: Why is Mariana Pajón the Best Colombian Athlete in History?

Mariana Pajón, the Colombian BMX cyclist, is indisputably the best athlete Colombia has ever had.

Mariana Pajon

With her third BMX Olympic medal, Mariana Pajón solidified her position as the best Colombian athlete in history. Photo: Flickr-Policia Nacional Colombia

LatinAmerican Post| Juan Manuel Londoño

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Leer en español: Opinión: ¿Por qué Mariana Pajón es la mejor deportista colombiana de la historia?

With her third BMX Olympic medal, Mariana Pajón solidified her position as the best Colombian athlete in history .

Although as much as the soccer players of that nation are glorified and praised, their achievements on the international stage throughout history are few and almost nonexistent . For many passions that soccer moves, the Colombian National Team has only won 1 Copa América and its best result in the World Cup has been a quarter-final.

Of course, no one expects a niche sport like BMX to attract so many attention, but Mariana's dominance leaves every other athlete in the country to shame .

Let's see some of his most important achievements

Undisputed Olympic results

Mariana has not only accumulated two gold medals in London and Rio , she also hung, at 29, the silver medal for Women's BMX Cycling.

In this conversation, we must remember the arduous path that Pajón had to this medal. She faced a serious ligament injury in 2018 and in late 2020 she was infected with coronavirus . However, once again she was able to compete at the highest level and add another medal to his list of achievements.

Fun fact: Mariana is the Colombian athlete who has won the most medals and the only one who has won two golds .

Also read: How Much Money do Latin American Athletes Receive for each Olympic Medal?

On top of the continent for years

Despite the fact that Mariana has mixed results globally, on the continent she has been at the top since the last decade.

Mariana, since 2010, has:

4 gold medals in the Bolivarian Games
2 gold medals at the Central American and Caribbean Games
2 gold medals at the Pan American Games
2 gold medals at the South American Games

No one else enters the conversation

In terms of other athletes, we could only say that two of them are close to what Mariana has achieved: Egan Bernal and Nairo Quintanta . Both have been winners of two Grand Cycling Tours so they have been at the top of their sport twice in history.

However, Mariana's list of accomplishments is too long and too diverse to make this comparison fairly. Also keep in mind that cycling is a team sport, while BMX is individual. Egan and Nairo are excellent, but Mariana is a unique talent.