Sebastián Crismanich: "The mental strength helped me win the gold"
Sebastián Crismanich (Corrientes, Argentina, 30th of October 1986) was the only athtlete of the Argentinean Olympic Team to win a gold medal in the London 2012 Games. Crismanich reached the Olympic glory after beating the Spanish Nicolás García in the last seconds of the -80 kg category final (1-0), becoming the first Argentinean Olympic gold medallist in a single competition since 1948.
Q. Did you expect to win a gold medal in your first appearance in the Olympic Games?
A. I always thought I could make it, but I was also aware of the high level that all the athletes competing in London had. I felt I had reached the ideal maturity level and had the proper physical, technical, tactical and mental abilities to achieve my goal on August 10th, which was clearly the gold medal.
Q. On your opinion, what was the key of the final against Nicolás García?
A. I think the mental strength made the difference and made me win the gold. Despite starting to compete in London with a cracked fibula and fracturing it seconds before the final bell rang, I never lost the concentration, the confidence, the desire to make history for my country.
Q. There was a lot of tension during the last seconds of the match, which finally ended 1-0. Maybe too much respect to each other?
A. Certainly there was a lot of tension, but also a lot of concentration from both athletes. That’s why the score ended up being so low, almost without points. It was really exciting to win an Olympic final like that against Nicolás García, an athlete that I highly admire and respect.
Q. Your gold medal was the first that your country won in a single competition since 1948… Has this fact had an effect on the impact that this medal has had in Argentina? Have you received many homages?
A. The whole country celebrated my medal as if it was theirs, paying me all kind of homages. Despite winning the Olympic gold some months ago, O can still feel this impact and that makes me feel really proud. The fact that my gold medal was the only one that my country achieved in London made it bigger into everybody’s eyes.
Q. How does it feel to beat Leo Messi (football) and Juan Martín Del Potro (tennis) to finish in second place of the “Argentinean athlete of the year 2012” award? “Maravilla” Martínez (boxing) was the only one that get more votes than you…
A. I feel really happy to be compared with these kind of athletes. I also think that the Olympics were the main sports competition of 2012 worldwide, so I consider myself the Argentinean athlete of last year, no matter the final result of the voting and the interests that some of the voters had in someone else winning the award. Having said that, I also want to make clear that the other candidates did also a great job and are absolute stars in their sports.
Q. Was 2012 your best year as an athlete so far? What are your main objectives for 2013?
A. There’s no doubt 2012 was my best year as a Taekwondo athlete. I achieved the best prize in the most important competition. In 2013 I have some personal objectives to meet and I will also probably compete in the Puebla World Championships, where I’ll have to give my very best again if I want to succeed.
Q. Do you think that the media impact that an Olympic gold medal has will help promoting Taekwondo in Argentina?
R. It’s already happening. My medal has had a big impact in my country and Taekwondo has started to grow as a popular sport. Now we must make the right decisions in order to take direction we want.
Q. You have two nicknames: “Pupy” and “Flaco”. Where do they come from?
A. My father’s best friend called me “Pupy” when he saw me for the first time, minutes after being born . My father was also known as “Flaco”, so I got this one from him.
Q. Before finishing the interview, I’d like to know your thoughts on a strange situation that happened in one of your recent combats. In the Queretaro (Mexico) Olympic qualifier, you were about to fight against Steven Lopez, but his coach made him retire from the match as he didn’t want you to analyze his style. How did you feel? Had you experienced something similar before?
A. It would have been great to fight against a legend of Taekwondo worldwide. In the end, I couldn’t because they didn’t want me to take advantage of that combat, but I still expect to have the chance to fight him some day. It was the first time that something like this happened to me.
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