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Mexico faring better in maths than sports

Mathematics students win six medals to Olympic athletes' four. It took more than a week and the wait generated much wringing of hands in the media, but Mexico finally won a medal at the Rio Olympic Games.

The news is even better today as the medal count is now up to four — two silver and two bronze. But that’s still two fewer than what young Mexican mathematicians have earned during the week-long International Mathematics Competition that wrapped up today in Thailand.

Four Mexican students — Jesús Omar Sistos Barrón of Guanajuato, Nuria SydyKova Méndez of Mexico City, Eric Iván Hernández Palacios of Nuevo León and Bruno Gutiérrez Chávez of Colima — won a bronze each and four more students won honorable mentions.

Mexico won two more bronze medals in team competitions at the event for secondary school-level students, in which 283 competitors from 31 countries participated.

Back in Rio de Janeiro, boxer Misael Rodríguez won Mexico’s first medal, a bronze in boxing, one year after he was begging bus riders for spare change to get to the Olympic Games. Rodríguez, who also had to buy his uniform on credit, was a victim of the infighting between sports organizations in Mexico and the federal sports agency, Conade, precipitated by an anti-corruption campaign launched last year by its new director, Alfredo Castillo.

One of Castillo’s strategies was to cut funding to those agencies, and one of them was the Mexican Boxing Federation.

Boxer Rodríguez said after the medal presentations, “Medals taste better after begging.”

Since that win, Mexico has picked up three more medals. Germán Sánchez won silver in diving while María de Rosario Espinoza has an assured silver in taekwondo after qualifying for tonight’s final. Ismael Hernández won bronze in modern pentathlon.

Mexico won seven medals at the London Olympic Games four years ago, one gold, three silver and three bronze.

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