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October Monday

The Olympic Games through the eyes of Francisco "Pancho" Soriano

´As the best memory he takes to his grave´ is how Francisco "Pancho" Soriano values his presence at the Beijing Olympic Games (2008), where he arrived to support the media coverage of the event together with correspondents, reporters and narrators from over 200 countries.

“I have special memories of my comments on the basketball final, with that American ´Dream Team´; the gold medal game of the Cuban field hockey team; and the rowing, canoeing, weightlifting, athletics and handball competitions,” this professional recalls 13 years later.

“What to say about the city! A high level of development, with incredible buildings, and the people impressed me with their kindness, hard work and respect in their treatment, be it in the hotel, the broadcasting center, or the streets,” he remarks.

Soriano remembers how the locals showed an unusual talent for language, learning Spanish words and phrases, the names of Cuban athletes and, of course, "for chanting and memorizing some bad words," says the 2019 National Sports Journalism Award winner with a smile.

About the next Olympics in Tokyo, Japan, the 74-year-old sports expert believes that Cuba could win gold medals in boxing, wrestling and athletics, without ruling out canoeing, another sports with a winning tradition in these summer events.

Pancho believes it quite likely that, for example, Mijaín López, the Cuban wrestling giant, will get his fourth crown in these competitions, and that his fellow countryman Andy Cruz, the main trump card of the boxing squad, will impose his style under the five rings.

However, the most important thing for the radio professional, mostly recognized for his baseball narrations in the Cuban National Championships, is that Tokyo becomes a space for fraternization among the countries, hard hit by the effects of COVID-19.

"Last year things were really rough for the world due to the spread of the pandemic, so this highly followed and publicized event could also serve to show the best side of the human being and even stand as a sort of rebirth in the midst of so much chaos and sadness".

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