I have little doubt that someone somewhere will find these images of interest or use.
I walked by the Jefferson Pérez trolebus, or rapid transit bus station, during one of the two opposing May Day parades that took place in Quito yesterday, one commemorating the most successful sportsman the country has produced.
Pérez was a race walker who won Olympic gold in the 20 kilometer event at the 1996 Games in Atlanta. Just 22 at the time, he was the youngest to ever win the event. He later famously embarked on a 459km pilgrimage from Quito to to his hometown of Cuenca, walking, running and jogging the entire way.
I covered international professional level track and field and distance running for more than fifteen years and it’s always nice to come across such commemorations. Particularly for athletes who competed in such relatively obscure events.
Pérez went on to claim three successive world titles in 2003, 2005 and 2007, before retiring in 2008 after winning a silver medal at the Olympics in Beijing. I witnessed the finish of each of those triumphs from a press seat, the latter from the Birds Nest Stadium in the Chinese capital, where Pérez was beaten by Valeriy Borchin of Russia. Borchin has since been hit by an eight-year suspended for doping, one that annulled most of his results from 2009 and essentially ended his career. It also raises serious doubts about previous honors Borchin collected over his career, including his victory over Pérez in Beijing.