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Jaime Yusept Espinal Fajardo (born October 14, 1984) is a Dominican-born Puerto Rican freestyle wrestler. In 2012 he became the first Olympic medalist in wrestling for Puerto Rico by winning a silver medal in the 84 kg division.[5]

Jaime Espinal
2018-10-12 Wrestling Boys Greco-Roman 71kg at 2018 Summer Youth Olympics – Medal Ceremony (Martin Rulsch) 03.jpg
Espinal at the 2018 Summer Youth Olympics
Personal information
NationalityDominican
Puerto Rican
Born (1984-10-14) October 14, 1984 (age 35)[1]
Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic[2][3]
Height1.78 m (5 ft 10 in)[4]
Weight86 kg (190 lb)
Sport
SportWrestling
Event(s)Freestyle
ClubSparta[5]
Coached byPedro Rojas[5]

Early years and educationEdit

Espinal was born to Jaime Felix Espinal and Alejandrina Fajardo Hernández.[6] He has two siblings: Stanley and Rosemary.[7] When he was 5 years old, his family moved to Puerto Rico. Espinal studied at the Baptist College and then Gabriela Mistral High School. He began wrestling when he was nine years old when coach Pedro Rojas approached him and other kids and invited them to Club Sparta[8] in Río Piedras along with Franklin Gómez.[9][10]

When he was 15 years old, Espinal and his mother moved to Brooklyn, New York. Espinal he had to deal with racism and fights "every two or three days". After a real bad fight, his mother decided to send him back to Puerto Rico alone. Espinal stop wrestling and began cheerleading and dancing.[10] He received a scholarship in cheerleading from the University of Puerto Rico at Bayamón.[11] Espinal continued college at Walden University in Pennsylvania. He completed a Bachelor's degree in computer design.

Before his international wrestling career, Espinal spent three years as a breakdancer for the Time Machine Squad, entering the group after winning a contest.[11] In 2008, he went by the name of "Olimpic Jumps" as part of the group. During that time, he served as a backup dancer for hip hop artists like Daddy Yankee and Tego Calderón.[12] He also practiced baseball and worked as a model.[7] However, convinced by coach Rojas, Espinal returned to wrestling.[10]

Wrestling careerEdit

To prepare for the 2010 Central American and Caribbean Games, his coach, Pedro Rojas, sent Espinal to train in Cuba for nine months.[10] As a result, Espinal won gold at the Central American and Caribbean Games in Mayagüez, Puerto Rico.[2]

In 2011, Espinal finished in fifth place[2] at the 2011 Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico. That same year, he won silver at the Pan American Wrestling Qualifying Tournament in Florida.

The next year, Espinal continued to excel in the sport finishing third at the Romanian International Tournament, and winning gold at the Città di Sassari Wrestling Championship in Italy. That year, at the 2012 Panamerican Wrestling Tournament in Kissimmee, Florida, Espinal qualified for the 2012 Summer Olympics.[6]

2012 OlympicsEdit

At the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, England, Espinal began the first rounds by defeating Nigerian Andrew Dick and Georgian Dato Marsagishvili. On the semi-finals, he defeated Soslan Gattsiev, from Belarus, to advance to the final round against Sharif Sharifov, from Azerbaijan. In the match, Sharifov defeated Espinal 3-1 to earn the gold. Espinal finished with the silver medal.[3] His medal was Puerto Rico's second silver in 17 Summer Olympics, and their second medal as a country in London.[13]

2016 OlympicsEdit

At the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Espinal was defeated in the first round of the 86 kg division by Selim Yaşar of Turkey. He was then defeated in the repechage by Reineris Salas of Cuba.[4] Espinal was the flag bearer for Puerto Rico during the Parade of Nations.[14]

Personal lifeEdit

Espinal is in a relationship with Alma Jane Valencia. Their first daughter Joy Espinal Valencia was born in May 31, 2017.[15]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Jaime Yusept Espinal". London 2012. 2012. Archived from the original on April 2, 2013. Retrieved August 13, 2012.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  2. ^ a b c "Jaime Espinal, la lucha por abrir caminos al futuro de Puerto Rico". Terra (in Spanish). AFP. August 11, 2012. Retrieved August 12, 2012.
  3. ^ a b "El luchador Jaime Espinal da una inédita e inesperada plata a Puerto Rico". Terra (in Spanish). AFP. August 11, 2012. Retrieved August 12, 2012.
  4. ^ a b "Jaime Yusept Espinal". Rio 2016. Archived from the original on August 26, 2016. Retrieved August 23, 2016.
  5. ^ a b c Jaime Yusept Espinal. nbcolympics.com
  6. ^ a b Sánchez Founier, José A. (August 11, 2012). "Jaime Espinal está demostrando su valor en Londres". Primera Hora (in Spanish). Retrieved August 13, 2012.
  7. ^ a b Rivas Reyes, Fernando (August 12, 2012). "Llena de orgullo la madre de Jaime Espinal tras su gesta olímpica". Primera Hora (in Spanish). Retrieved August 13, 2012.
  8. ^ Ayala, Hermes (August 12, 2012). "Londres '12: El luchador 'B-boy' que salió a buscar el oro". Noticel (in Spanish). Retrieved August 13, 2012.
  9. ^ Ribas, Fernando (August 12, 2012). "Llena de orgullo la madre de Jaime Espinal tras su gesta olímpica". Primera Hora. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |work= (help)
  10. ^ a b c d Pagán, Estéban (August 22, 2012). "Jaime Espinal: Una vida de lucha". El Nuevo Día. Retrieved August 22, 2012. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |newspaper= (help)
  11. ^ a b Rosa Rosa, Carlos (August 13, 2012). "Jaime Espinal: "Nunca soñé que viviría un momento así"". Primera Hora (in Spanish). London, United Kingdom. Retrieved August 13, 2012.
  12. ^ "Antes de ser medallista olímpico era Olimpic Jumps". El Nuevo Día. August 11, 2012. Archived from the original on August 13, 2012. Retrieved August 11, 2012. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |newspaper= (help)
  13. ^ "Histórica medalla de plata en lucha". El Vocero. August 11, 2012. Archived from the original on August 13, 2012.
  14. ^ "The Flagbearers for the Rio 2016 Opening Ceremony". August 16, 2016. Retrieved August 23, 2016.
  15. ^ "¡Jaime Espinal y su compañera Alma presentan a su bebita Joy!". Primera Hora (in Spanish). June 2, 2017. Retrieved June 2, 2017.

External linksEdit

Olympic Games
Preceded by
Javier Culson
Flagbearer for   Puerto Rico
Rio de Janeiro 2016
Succeeded by
Incumbent