Donovan Carrillo's Figure Skating Is Inspiring Generations
A Mother's Touching Tribute to Mexican Figure Skater Donovan Carrillo
Image Source: Getty / David Ramos
On Feb. 9, Donovan Carrillo made history at the 2022 winter Olympics in Beijing as the first Mexican figure skater to perform an Olympic free skate segment. "I didn't want it to end. I wanted to keep skating and living the Olympic dream," Carrillo told USA Today. Carrillo, whose routine was set to Daniel Boaventura and Carlos Rivera's "Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps (Ao Vivo)," is also the first Mexican figure skater to compete in the Olympics in 30 years, marking a historic win for the Latinx community.
Moved by the 22-year-old skater's dedication and hard work, visual journalist and art director for the LA Times, Susana Sanchez, aka The Designing Chica, paid tribute to Carrillo with a drawing that sparked a powerful conversation with her son about the importance of celebrating Latinx success.
"Mijo, when you see a Latino making their dreams come true, through hard work and dedication, you celebrate them! You cheer them on. You feel a sense of pride!"
"My son asked me why was I [was] drawing Mexico's ice skater Donovan Carrillo if he didn't medal," Sanchez captioned an Instagram post on Feb. 10, after Carrillo placed twenty second overall in men's single skating. "A great question and here's what I told my son: 'Mijo, when you see a Latino making their dreams come true, through hard work and dedication, you celebrate them! You cheer them on. You feel a sense of pride! You feel proud to see someone who didn't have the means to become an Olympian but he did it. One day we will see more Latino skater Olympians because they saw Donovan do it!'"
For Sanchez — who chose to draw Carrillo in his outfit from day five of the Gala Exhibition at the ISU World Figure Skating Championships in Stockholm, Sweden on March 28 — the drawing is symbolic of Latinx triumph in the past, present, and future. "I felt so much pride in seeing a Latino reach his goals," she tells POPSUGAR. "I wanted to illustrate this proud moment felt by all Latinos, especially my Mexican friends. When I saw his Mariachi suit photos on his insta [sic], I knew that was the image I wanted to embody in my style of illustration! . . . My kids understood my elation."
"Seldomly do we see our countrymen in the spotlight at these games. When we do, we cheer so hard! We cry and we rejoice that one of us has made it."
A self-described superfan of Carrillo, Sanchez adds that she used her son's moment of curiosity as a teaching opportunity to explain to her children that dreams can come true with the right combination of determination, skill, and support. "I am not Mexican but I cheer for all Latin American countries who make the impossible, possible," she says, adding that her parents are from Guatemala and Nicaragua. "Seldomly do we see our countrymen in the spotlight at these games. When we do, we cheer so hard! We cry and we rejoice that one of us has made it. The moment he finished his Olympic debut routine, I cried. I cried when I heard his story about practicing at the mall. I cried tears of happiness when he said: 'Los sueños se hacen realidad.'"
Carrillo did not go home with a medal following his Olympic routine, but the impact he's had on Latinx viewers by chasing after his dreams will live on for generations. "For Carrillo to have made it this far, says so much about his dedication, goals and his family support and support of his coach," Sanchez says. "I told my son that he was a winner even though he didn't [receive a medal] and that one day, we will see more Latinos on the ice skating rinks because of Donovan."