Ecuador: Sprinter Álex Quiñónez Brings Country to Standstill During Final

This post is part of our special coverage London 2012 Olympics.

Ecuador has a total of 36 athletes representing the country and participating in 11 events at the London 2012 Olympics. Despite the president of the Ecuadorian National Olympic Commitee, Danilo Carrera [es] feeling confident about success in canoeing and boxing, it was actually Álex Quiñónez, a sprinter from the coastal city of Esmeraldas, who had the whole country sitting on the edge of their seats as the people of Ecuador took to Twitter and other social networking sites to offer him support. Quiñónez was the only South American athlete to qualify for the 200m finals, having finished in seventh place.

YouTube user paul21042007 uploaded the following video of Álex Quiñónez after he got through to the final:

Quiñónez (@AlexQ1989) [es] reached the finals of the Olympics for the first time in his sporting career. Together with this, Quiñónez's popularity also rose rapidly on social networking sites. To highlight this, having got through to the semifinals, the sprinter only had 50 followers on Twitter growing to 246 fifteen minutes later. At the time of writing this post, Quiñónez had more than 12,000 followers. Messages of support from the people of Ecuador can be found by searching on the hashtag, #AlexQuiñonez [es].

On August 7, the Ecuadorian National Olympic Committee (@ECUADORolimpico) [es] posted a tweet:

@ECUADORolimpico: Por fin nombre de Ecuador retumba en Londres, alex quinonez gana au [sic] serie y pasa a semifinales wn [sic] 200m.

@ECUADORolimpico: At last, an Ecuadorian becomes a household name in London. Álex Quiñónez wins and gets through to the 200m semifinals.

Journalism student, Christian Pinzón (@Khriz199218) [es], wrote:

@Khriz199218: No hay duda que el mayor logro que ha realizado por el momento #AlexQuiñonez es paralizar todo un país, solo porque eres #OrgulloEcuatoriano

@Khriz199218: There is no doubt that the greatest ever achievement of #AlexQuiñonez has brought Ecuador to a standstill because you are #OrgulloEcuatoriano (Ecuadorian Pride)

Presidential candidate Guillermo Lasso (@LassoGuillermo) [es] tweeted:

@LassoGuillermo: Gracias Álex Quiñónez por llevarnos a esta final olímpica de los 200 metros planos. Una gran representación para nuestro país.

@LassoGuillermo: Thanks Álex Quiñónez for reaching the 200m finals for Ecuador. You are a true ambassador for the country.

William Vite Huerta (@wvite) [es] looks forward to the 2016 Olympics:

@wvite: Lo de #AlexQuiñonez fue algo de destacar, en #Brasil2016 creo que será otra historia, a prepararse…

@wvite#AlexQuiñonez was really something but his performance in #Brasil2016 will be out of this world. Let the training commence…

Álex Quiñónez competing in the 200m final in the London 2012 Olympics. Photography courtesy of Flickr user Alexandre Moreau | Photography. Licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Journalist and television presenter María Teresa Guerrero (@flacaguerrerog) [es] also congratulated Quiñónez:

@flacaguerrerog: Estar en una final es pa los grandes!! Mi respeto y admiración para #AlexQuinonez #poderesmeraldeño

@flacaguerrerog: Being part of the final is a massive achievement!! Well-deserved respect and admiration for #AlexQuinonez #poderesmeraldeño

Angie Pérez (@anni1595) [es] tweeted:

@anni1595: Quizas no es muy conocido, pero que orgullo que un ecuatoriano sea el septimo mejor del mundo #AlexQuiñonez!

@anni1595: He may not be well known but how good does it feel that an Ecuadorian ranks seventh in the world #AlexQuiñonez!

Juan Fernando Velasco (@juanfervelasco) [es], a singer from the capital city of Ecuador, Quito, also posted a tweet about Quiñónez ranking seventh in the world:

@juanfervelasco: Querido Alex Quiñónez: Qué se siente ser el número 7 de entre 7 mil millones?! Grande compatriota!!

@juanfervelasco: Dear Alex Quiñónez. How does it feel to rank seventh among seven billion people? Hats off to you mate!

The national media also reported that the Ecuadorian government offered a brand new home [es] for the sprinter and his family to acknowledge his achievement in London 2012. Sports Minister Jose Francisco Cevallos confirmed this news. It goes without saying that the athlete will return to Ecuador feeling proud with his head held high sound in the knowledge that he has achieved something great.

This post is part of our special coverage London 2012 Olympics.

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