Who Is to Blame for Mexico's Lack of Medals in Rio 2016?

Deportista mexicana. Foto compartida en Flickr por CONADE. Usada bajo licencia CC 2.0

Mexican athlete.  Photo shared on Flickr by CONADE. Used under CC 2.0 licence.

A third of the Games is over and the medal count for the Mexicans is as poor as it could possibly be: zero.

Even in sports where promising Mexican athletes were participating, such as archery, synchronized diving and boxing, competitors have been eliminated before the final rounds.

Andy Rosales tweeted:

Mexico is a disappointment in the Olympics. Not even archery, not boxing, gymnastics, weightlifting or diving, a disappointment!

Netizen Armando Rodríguez pointed a finger at the head of the National Commission for Physical Culture and Sport (CONADE):

Watching Mexico's terrible performance in #Rio2016, what justification will “the fireman” (or the jack of all trades) have @ACC_Castillo, president of @CONADE?

The members of the men's football team have borne a lot of the criticism after making a poor fist of their Olympic championship defense by getting eliminated at the group phase following a defeat to South Korea.

Who should be held to account for the elimination of the olympic Tri in @rio2016_es? everyone, directors, team owners, and puffed up players. #Mexico

In the case of gymnast Alexa Moreno, comments concerned not only her poor performance and subsequent elimination, but her appearance as well.

If you google “fat Mexican gymnast” guess who comes up? Yes #AlexaMoreno #sorrynotsorry Google said it 💅 pic.twitter.com/NJa6X0BAFJ

But there are others who have came to Moreno's defense, claiming the criticisms as misogynistic.

Ayesha Borja on her Facebook profile made the following remark regarding an entry on Buzzfeed that compiles a series of comments made about the gymnast's physique:

Chingaos, yo aquí tranquileando echándome una chela y de pronto leo esto. Me dan asco, en serio, me repugna el “es un chistecito”, me cagan las personas doble moral con cerebros pequeños y nulo corazón. Alexa: eres una chingona, un país que aplaude a pendejos misóginos, que se regocija en discriminar, en ser racistas y que no se fija en tu esfuerzo, no te merece. Me da mucha rabia.

Goddamit, I was here chilling and having a drink when I read this. You disgust me, seriously, your “it's a joke” grosses me out, I don't give a shit about people with no morals, with small brains and no heart. Alexa: you are an amazing woman, a country that applauds its misogynistic assholes, that enjoys discrimination and racism and that doesn't give you credit for your effort, doesn't deserve you. It makes me so angry.

The Twitter user Lisse also came out in favour of Moreno:

#AlexaMoreno She is not fat, whoever criticizes her for that just wait and try and get through one of her training sessions 👊.

Pictoline posted their response in a graphic which sums up the counter-criticism well: “Many are criticizing the Mexican athletes for their poor performance in #Rio2016.  But the problem goes a lot deeper.”

Perder Solo. Imagen de Pictoline.

Losing Alone. Image by Pictoline.

Losing Alone.

You stink!

We only see (and criticize) the athletes. But the problem with their poor performance in #Rio2016 goes a lot deeper.

  • Federations: Federations are Civil Associations who are responsible for particular sports. They don't always have the best policies.
  • Government: With no solid plan + Federation disorganization = EPIC FAIL
  • Media and Sponsors: Outside of popular sports, it's difficult for athletes to get sponsorship or much media coverage.
  • Society: Our lack of interest for the majority of the sports ends up coming back to bite us.

In addition to criticism, humorous comments made the rounds when netizens on Twitter made fun of the questionable green colour of the water in the diving pool, one of the events where Mexicans were hoping for good results:

What they don't know is that the water in the diving pool is green to symbolize the jungles of Brazil

Isn't the water of the diving pool like “green Xochimilco”?  #Clavados #Rio2016

[Note: Xochimilco is a region of the Mexican capital where there are canals with dark green water.]

With more than 54,000 followers, Twitter user Jesús Robles Maloof urged Mexicans to continue to support Olympic athletes:

I say that we should keep supporting those who are playing such an important part in #Rio2016 despite (and frequently against) @CONADE and @COM_Mexico nest of corruption.

Even if that means supporting representatives from other countries…

We should also put our rank nationalism on hold for a while and support teams like brotherly Honduras who are showing courage.

In London 2012 the total medal count for the Mexican delegation was seven — only one of them gold — leaving the country in 39th place in the medal standings.

In Beijing 2008 they won three. Technically, athletes representing Mexico still have time to better both of those displays but it will take some impressive performances to lift the fog of sporting skepticism that has descended over the country.

For more on the Olympics, see In Mexico, Rio 2016 Will be Broadcast on Digital Media, Shutting Off Open TV or check out our special coverage page: Joy, Disappointment and Injustice at the Rio Olympics.

1 comment

  • mollycruz

    Given the fractions of a second that separate winners from losers, I can’t imagine why anyone takes the scores seriously. To me they seem serendipitous, arbitrary. What I like are all the healthy beautiful people, the smiles, the friendship, the opportunity to appreciate how many of us out here in video land hardly move at all in the course of a day. It’s an extraordinary event and they’re all winners, separated by hundredths of a second and so far nobody has died. cheated, or gotten arrested. Kudos!

Join the conversation

Authors, please log in »


  • All comments are reviewed by a moderator. Do not submit your comment more than once or it may be identified as spam.
  • Please treat others with respect. Comments containing hate speech, obscenity, and personal attacks will not be approved.