For the first time in 44 years, an athlete from the USA got a medal in the 1500 meters. His name is Leo Manzano and he got a silver. He entered the United States as an illegal immigrant which would ordinarily make his story a fairytale but it all got dicey after he won.
Immediately after winning, he tweeted:
Silver medal, still felt like I won! Representing two countries USA and Mexico!
The Olympics is not about the medal, it is about the country. He could have asked the Mexican government for permission to represent them in the Olympics. He either didn’t or was rejected. But that’s beside the point. If he is wearing USA across his chest then he represents the United States.
Here is Ruben Navarrette, a Mexican American journalist from CNN:
That said, the photo bothered me.
Some people will insist that this is Manzano’s choice to make, that it was his sweat and sacrifice that got him to London, and this was his victory to celebrate however he saw fit. Those people are wrong. They’re focused on the individual. But the last thing the Olympics is about is the individual.
It’s about being part of a team — the U.S. Olympic team. It’s about national pride, not ego. Manzano wasn’t there to compete for himself but to represent his country. All he had to do was decide which country that was. He chose not to choose.
I found an interesting comment about this story on Youtube.
I don’t see what is wrong with that. I was born in the USA but a lot of people called me Mexican and never saw me as an American. I call myself Mexican because that is what most people see me as so the problem is not with me but rather society in general.
Being the son of immigrants, I can vouge for the fact that people identify me by my parent’s country. Sure. But I don’t owe any of my successes to their country. I was born in the United States. I was raised here. I got my education from here. I earn my living here. My allegiance is whole heartedly for the United States and if I was blessed with the opportunity to represent the country of my birth, I’d savor it.