Venezuela’s Lone Winter Olympian Has More Than One Great Reason to Dance
Anyone watching the procession of nations during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics had to be struck by Venezuela’s lone athlete, alpine skier Antonio Pardo, who enthusiastically danced his way around the stadium.
Turns out Pardo has plenty of reasons to dance.
The 43-year-old Caracas native began skiing recreationally in 1988 in St. Mortiz, Switzerland, and only began racing in 2011. He began participating in official races after becoming unemployed. (He was formerly a banker.)
But that’s not the most amazing bit of Pardo’s life story: At just eight years old, he was diagnosed with a brain tumor and given only three months to live.
Pardo underwent surgery that saved his life but left him paralyzed on the left side of his body. He had to relearn how to walk, and eventually made a full recovery.
Pardo, whose sports philosophy is “do it because you love it,” is fluent in English, Spanish and Italian. And perhaps most predictably, he is also the president of the Venezuelan Ski Federation.
But most importantly, he’s an amazing dancer.