BMX cyclist Mariana Pajon, who won Colombia’s first gold medal at the London Olympics and Colombia’s second gold medal ever, said Friday her victory “is like a dream come true.”
Pajon, who had dominated her three semi-final runs in awe-inspiring fashion, led the eight-rider strong field after the first bend, never looked back and finished first.
“I can’t believe it … I have tried so hard for it and I just did it,” the Medellin native said. “I won the three motos (runs) and the final. I felt really strong, I had really good gates and that’s it. I really had fun on it.”
The paisa, overwhelmed by her victory, said “It’s like a dream come true. I’ve been trying to win this my whole life. I just wanted go out of the gate and win it. It’s unbelievable.”
“I have to wake up tomorrow and realize what I have just won,” she added.
Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos immediately called Pajon, he said on his website.
“You have no idea how happy we Colombians are,” the president said he told the cyclist. “You are making us proud of being Colombian. You give us a great example and we will be waiting for you here with our arms and hearts wide open.”
According to the presidential website, Pajon thanked Santos saying “I have felt this support for a long time. Because of that we are here. Because of that I am not the only winner, but all Colombians are.”
Pajon’s gold medal is Colombia’s second ever at an Olympics; the first was won in 2000 by weightlifter Maria Isabel Urrutia.
The London Olympics by far have become the South American country’s most successful Olympics ever.
Minutes after Pajon, male BMX cyclist Carlos Mario Oquendo won bronze in the men’s category, lifting Colombia’s total number of medals to eight.
The country’s old record was set in 1972 when Colombian athletes brought home three medals. In London, Colombia has so far won one gold, three silver and four bronze medals.