Un sueño hecho realidad (A dream come true)

The following is an excerpt from an article posted at ParkRecord.com:

Juan Jose Carlos knows a thing or two about success.

He knows a thing or two about struggling, too. But one thing is certain: the member of the Mexican Bobsled and Skeleton national team knows that he wants to help dreams come to fruition.

Carlos is the director of the newly-founded Mexican Bobsled and Skeleton Foundation, and Saturday at the Utah Olympic Park was the foundation’s first official recruiting event.

Local kids, ages 12-to-16, of Mexican heritage from Summit and other northern Utah counties took to the pavement as they began practicing and training on the skeleton push track, with the help and guidance of Carlos and other coaches.

“We started this program because we had a lot of problems; we struggled to make the Mexican bobsled-skeleton team work,” Carlos said. “This will open more doors.”

“No one has trained in bobsled or skeleton. Everyone will start at zero.”

The goal for the program is to get Mexico qualified for the inaugural 2012 Winter Youth Olympics in Innsbruck, Austria. Carlos, originally a track-and-field star, was approached by someone involved with the Mexican Bobsled and Skeleton team back in 1997 and presented with a proposition.

“He asked me if I wanted to go to the Winter Olympics,” Carlos said. “I said sure.”

Carlos thought about joining the team, but realized the Mexican Bobsled and Skeleton team wouldn’t qualify for the 1998 Olympics, so he put thoughts of flying down a chute on a sled behind him for the time being.

In 2002, he ran into the coach of the Mexican team only to find out that his native country had finally qualified in the sport he’d dreamt of competing in. Two years later, Carlos flipped the switch.

“I wanted to try it,” he said.

Carlos asked the head coach what he needed to do to make the team. The coach told him he needed to become certified. He didn’t know how. He didn’t have adequate equipment.

His solution?

Go to Austria. He earned his license and practiced on sleds that didn’t fit his taller frame.

Carlos made friends all around the world. He traveled to places he’d never imagined possible.

But launching a program of this magnitude presents barriers and takes a couple things: kids and funding.

Art Piña, the president and founder of the organization, knows this.

The Salt Lake City resident was a sponsor for the Olympic Mexican Bobsled and Skeleton team. He knew Juan Jose Carlos would be the ideal coach and director to help him get the program going.

“We’re skiers, but we sponsor the (Mexican bobsled and skeleton) team,” Piña said. “For two years, I’ve been traveling with them, being around the sport. I just like this sport. I just fell in love with the sport. As the Mexican population here grows, the push-track is only 20 minutes away from Salt Lake City.”

The foundation has cleared all of its roadblocks. It received its charter in March of this year and has full cooperation of the Mexican government and Olympic Committee.

“The idea’s been going on for a year,” Piña said. “We did all of our paperwork the first part of the winter. We got accepted by the government and got a bid and got our structure set up.”

Piña knows that if done correctly, something like this can prove to be unbelievably beneficial to the young people of Mexico, and young Mexican-Americans.

Click here to read the entire article.


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