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Honoring Hispanic Athletes

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Celebration for National Hispanic Heritage Month started on September 15 and will end on October 15. This month commemorates the profound diversity of the Spanish and Latin American culture of the United States, and is also appropriately timed with the independence anniversaries for a number of Hispanic countries. Throughout the years, Latinos have also contributed vastly to the sports world.

A spotlight on some Hispanic MVPs:

Oscar de la Hoya: Nicknamed “The Golden Boy,” the 1992 Olympic gold medalist has become one of the greatest icons for Mexican boxers. His love for the glove goes a long way. He defeated 17 world champions and won 10 world titles in six different weight classes, ranging from super-featherweight to middleweight.

Pablo Sandoval: The baseball player, a third baseman for the San Francisco Giants, is lovingly nicknamed “Kung Fu Panda.” He went down in history on October 24, 2012. In Game 1 of the World Series, Panda hit three home runs. He is one of four players to do so in a World Series game. The Venezuelan third baseman was named World Series MVP that year.

PauGasol: The 7-foot forward for the Los Angeles Lakers serves as an inspiration to aspiring basketball players from across the world. The NBA superstar is not only known for representing L.A., but his native country, Spain, as well. He has played for the Spanish men’s basketball team in two Olympics, earning him two silver medals. ¡Muybien!

Lionel Messi: From Argentina, Messi has proven to himself and to the entire world that soccer, or football, would not be the same without his existence. Messi’s natural skill led him from his club’s youth teams to representing two countries – his home country of Argentina in World Cup play, and Spain, where he stars for FC Barcelona – and gaining international recognition. The captain of Argentina’s national team has participated in two World Cups (2006 and 2010) and the 2008 summer Olympics, winning a gold medal.

Rafael Nadal: Who can create a Hispanic athlete list without naming Nadal? Nadal simply never ceases to amaze. The “King of the Clay” is considered one of the greatest professional tennis players of all time. The Spanish athlete has won 13 Grand Slam singles tittles and a 2008 Olympic gold medal. His win of the 2013 French Open made him the only male player to win a Grand Slam tournament eight times, and the only one to win a Grand Slam tournament for nine successive years.

¡Felicitaciones a todos! (Congratulations to all!) Who are some of your favorite Hispanic athletes? How will you be celebrating the Latino culture this month?