“Today is a special, unique and different day,” says Alejandro Blanco, president of the COE, at the tribute ceremony for the athletes who participated in the Winter Games in Calgary (Canada) and Seoul (South Korea) in 1988, at a gala held at the Alfredo Goyeneche Auditorium at the headquarters of the Spanish Olympic Committee. “The dream of being an Olympian, of being there, of competing and carrying the flag are incomparable sensations. Every time I think about it, it gives me goosebumps. It is something very exciting, very emotional”, explained skier Ainhoa Ibarra, flag bearer at the Calgary Winter Games to which the Spanish Olympic team attended with twelve athletes and in which they achieved an Olympic diploma won by the long-awaited Blanca Fernández Ochoa.
In Seoul, the Spanish delegation won four medals (gold in sailing with José Luis Doreste, silver with the men’s tennis doubles with Sergio Casal and Emilio Sánchez Vicario; and two bronzes in swimming, Sergi López, and shooting, Jorge Guardiola. And the flag bearer it was the Infanta Cristina de Borbón, who recalled the “indescribable emotion of that moment”. More than one hundred athletes attended the gala held at the COE, approximately half of the total of 228 (216 from Seoul and 12 in Calgary) who represented us in those two Olympic events. They all went up to the stage, one by one, to collect a diploma of recognition from the hands of Alejandro Blanco and the president of the federation corresponding to his sporting discipline.
The only medalist present, Jorge Guardiola, recalled his most emotional moment: “Winning the medals was something exciting. I entered sixth in the final, climbed back to third place, and took the medal. The most beautiful memory was leaving the track and seeing my wife Natalia’s face”. Emotion and recollection of moments that were recorded forever as Alejandro Blanco recalled: “Acknowledging athletes is remembering the past, but it is also live in the present because the Olympic Games are always there. 34 years have passed, but you can once again feel the admiration, respect and applause of those of us who had the opportunity to get excited about you and admire you. Today, 34 years later, those who did not see you have to know you through these memories and They must know you as legends and history of Spanish sport. We can boast of them and, apart from the medals, we want to give value to the diplomas. Being among the top eight in the world in any profession would always make us immensely recognized. We remember the past and live in the present because the Games are always present. Today everyone knows the successes of Spanish sport, but we would not have achieved this if people like you did not exist. Eternal debt, Olympic gratitude.”