Star sports players know how to make a crowd go wild. And Hispanic athletes have been getting cheers from the field to the pool. Hispanic Heritage Month started on September 15. So let’s take a lap around some of the biggest names in sports!
Vernon Louis Gomez played his first season with the New York Yankees in 1930. The star pitcher threw with his left hand. That earned him the nickname “Lefty.” Gomez helped his team to a World Series win in 1932. Then, he did it again in 1936 and the three following years! “I’d rather be lucky than good,” the pitcher once said. But judging by his success, Gomez was a bit of both.
Jim Plunkett had a lot of firsts. He was a football champ at Stanford University. In his first game as quarterback, he threw for four touchdowns. In 1970, Plunkett was the first Latino to win the Heisman Trophy. The next year, the New England Patriots chose him with the first draft pick. The football star later joined the Oakland Raiders. In 1980, Plunkett was the first Hispanic quarterback to get a Super Bowl win!
Dara Torres just keeps swimming. Born in 1967, the athlete has been making waves for a long time. She entered her first swimming contest at 14 years old. Over her career, she broke three world records and earned 12 Olympic medals. In 2008, Torres made history. At 41 years old, she was the oldest swimmer to ever compete in the Olympics! Torres snatched up three silver medals. She wrote a book called Age is Just a Number.
Carmelo Anthony sure can shoot! The basketball star is a new Houston Rocket. He has been an NBA All-Star 10 times. In 2013, he was the top scorer in the league. Anthony also played on the U.S. Olympic team a record four times and brought home three Olympic gold medals. The star shooter’s father was from Puerto Rico. Anthony has built several basketball courts there. He hopes to help young players follow their dreams!
Laurie Hernandez is only 18 years old. But she’s already traveled the world doing what she loves — gymnastics! The talented teen started the sport when she was 5. Her breakout moment came in 2016 when she made the U.S. Olympic team. Hernandez was the first U.S.-born Hispanic gymnast to make the team since 1984. She helped her team to a gold medal. She also took silver in the balance beam event. Now, Hernandez has her eyes on the 2020 Olympics in Japan!
Updated October 8, 2018, 5:02 P.M. (ET)
By Ashley Morgan
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