Zaragozana, 40 years. It has 22 Paralympic medals, as many as Michael Phelps. The Rio 2016 will be his fifth Games. It was karateca, was involved in politics and wanted to be a military pilot but was not allowed by bajita (measured 1,63m, just missed one centimeter). He lost the use of her legs at age 19 but that’s not stopped at all: he is an athlete, lecturer, ambassador of the Foundation Telefónica, mother (says his son is the best medal that has given life) and a bunch energy that goes crazy with endless heels shoes. He says the first time he entered a pool felt “freedom of movement”. If we had to define in one sentence it would be “woman who never gives up.”
You are an ambassador of the Foundation Telefonica, what would the sport without the sponsorship and patronage of companies?
The question comes very specifically to hair because Telefonica was the first sponsor of the Spanish Paralympic sport and carry supporting him since before there was the Paralympic Plan. This house has been quite sporting culture, and even a culture in the paralympic world because their way was hard. If other athletes had it difficult, imagine us, that was not even considered a sport of high level.
That is, they could not develop this sport without the support of these companies.
Would as was done before.
How it was done before?
Asking favors: the favor requested the city council to relent we turn to a sports facility or a residence to cede the stay. That has led me to stay in a care facility under Plasencia, in my first concentration, because the coach was there, she was friendly with the mayor and we left the center. Those who were going in a wheelchair as we could not climb stairs because there was no elevator, no longer slept on cots, but mattresses directly on the floor. I’m talking about the year 98. It rained a lot since then, there has been a big evolution especially since they entered the big companies in sponsorship. Yes it is true that things would improve if we had a Patronage Law on conditions and if more benefits for companies that support not only the big sporting event, but directly to athletes.
You mean you do not generate any profit?
Do not, no. I have an agreement with the Telefonica Foundation and they have what I can get from my image, but do not get tax benefits for it and that does not happen in other countries. There are only benefits to Games preparation, which has a tax relief. But not when there is a direct sponsorship of an athlete.
So the rest of the year to make a living.
Yes, companies particularly you throw a cable, as Quickie, who gave me the chair. Arena from the outset supported me too, I called them and they offered me swimsuits. But they get nothing in return.
If we were to quantify a preparation for the Olympics, how you suppose?
Uff, an example: until last year he had no agreement with the City of Zaragoza by the pool, pool for an hour you out for 24 euros, multiply by four hours a day. Car trips, trips Championship Spain leave me for an average of 600 euros, that payment. Food in my case, I try to do as environmentally friendly as possible, and do not speak only of supplements, bars and others. In food I spend a lot of money. Also in technologies that I use in my preparation, such as heart rate monitors, which measure the frequencies and cadences of stroke, which not only measure the pulse; if I have to make a recording underwater, special cameras …. Swimming as parachute material, gums to train under water … If we start to add up, it’s pretty. Use for example, an apparatus for hypoxia, which simulates altitude and use an hour a day. This device cost about 2,200 euros me and what I have been replenished for a total of about 1,800 euros. If you do the math out a lot of money per season.
Since when has been preparing the Olympic Games in Rio?
More intensely, since February. Train between 7 and 8 hours each day.
How you face such a hard training?
Very head. I always say that really is like a company you prepare for a long time to get the product to market, you do prospecting (I check my rivals), apart from my logistics because I take care of all this that I’ve been counting; also is the economic side, the one to go looking for sponsorships and then, to complete the staging. And it’s not just the competition, maybe that’s the easy part. The hard part is every day, even those who say ‘what laziness’, those little obstacles every day.
Because there are days that really too lazy.
Yes, cold because you’re exhausted and others because it is much better to be with your child or reading to be quiet and not be training. But I want to win, so I have to train.
What is your feeling for Rio?
Good, I go with ambition, wanting, but with respect, I do not mind saying. I have many rivals biting at my heels. But I have two advantages, experience and have won several medals. Being a mother is the best medal of my life, I have this need to win, I do not see the drama out of it.
Having a child, he has changed in this regard?
Yes, that and having moved a lot around the world, have met very different realities to mine such as being in places where women put their hands to the head because I am a woman, because I drive a car, because I have a son, because I have money to go to the market to buy meat. For all that I have another perspective. Of course I want to win, but I also know that there is life beyond a gold medal.
Since we are in ‘Forbes’, is there any man / woman businessman who admire?
Let’s see, I have one, Cesar Alierta. One you say, jolín not of people, because Zaragoza is not a town but not the capital. And yet, coming from there he became president of Telefonica, which grew and grew. And a man who is not your typical slicked entrepreneur, but I also do not like indulging in prejudice and stereotypes.