Colombian leader hails first gold of Olympics
Updated: 2012-08-11 06:49:07
Gold medallist Colombia's Mariana Pajon places a hand on her chest as her national anthem is playedat the women's BMX victory ceremony during the London 2012 Olympic Games at the BMX Track in the Olympic Park August 10, 2012. [Photo/Agencies]
BOGOTA - Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos Friday celebrated the country's first gold medal of the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Santos first thanked cyclist Mariana Pajon for garnering the country's first gold medal of the games in the women's BMX (Bicycle Motocross) race.
"Thank you Mariana Pajon for this medal," Santos wrote in his official Twitter account shortly after hearing the news.
He said the achievement raised the status of Colombian women "and fills us with patriotic pride."
The 20-year-old Pajon, who is from Medellin, the capital of Antioquia province, dominated the race from start to finish, through three classification trials.
In a telephone call to Pajon later, Santos said it was his birthday and he was happy "to receive the medal with all my heart ... as are all Colombians."
Pajon's gold medal is Colombia's first at the London 2012, and only the second in the country's Olympic history. Colombian weightlifter Maria Isabel Urrutia won the gold in the women's 75kg at the Sydney Games in 2000.
Speaking to a local television news show, Pajon dedicated her medal "to all Colombia" and said their support and "energy was felt on the track."
Santos celebrated again soon after, when Carlos Mario Oquendo won bronze in the men's BMX, raising the nation's medal count to eight.
"BRONZE for Carlos Mario Oquendo," Santos tweeted. "Thank you for the effort to make Colombia proud."
Oquendo, also from Antioquia, finished third behind Beijing 2008 title holder Maris Strombergs, from Lithuania, and world title holder Sam Willoughby of Australia.
The London 2012 is turning out to be Colombia's best Olympics ever, garnering one gold, three silver and four bronze medals, in cycling, weightlifting, judo, taekwondo, the triple jump, wrestling and BMX.