Luciana Alvarado Is Costa Rica's First Gymnast Olympian and Also an Activist
The 18-year-old artistic gymnast added a surprise move at the end of her performance in support of the Black Lives Matter movement that set her apart at the Tokyo Games.
Luciana Alvarado was already making history by being Costa Rica's first artistic gymnast to compete in the Olympic games when she added something to her floor routine at the Tokyo Games that set her apart from her peers.
After a stunning performance, Alvarado took a knee, placed her left hand behind her back and raised her right fist into the air to show her support for the Black Lives Matter movement.
"I feel like if you do something that brings everyone together you know, and you see that here, like 'Yes, you're one of mine, you understand things'," Alvarado said on the GymCastic podcast. "The importance of everyone being treated with respect and dignity, and everyone having the same rights because we're all the same and we're all beautiful and amazing."
The 18-year-old has had a lifelong trajectory as an artistic gymnast, starting her training at the age of 2. She followed in the footsteps of her mother, who is a former gymnast and a gym owner.
Alvarado made her successful debut during the 2019 World Championships and Pan American Games. Consequently, she was named Pan American Champion in Rio de Janeiro after she earned a bronze medal at the 2021 Pan American Championships all-around —and the gold for the balance beam.
Although the International Olympic Committee has implemented rules that limit athletes' protest actions, Alvarado's gesture has not triggered repercussions. Sunday's routine was her only appearance on the Olympic stage; her score of 12.166 did not qualify her to move on to the finals.