The man who does not give up or shot
Today I am not going to tell the story of a winner, but that of a fighter. That of a 29-year-old man who does not give up even under water. We had the feeling that every year that passed their chances of getting on the podium were reduced. But the difference is that he didn't see it that way. This, in reality, is the story of Miguel Angel Sancho, a guy who in 2009, at age 18, made the best jump of his life: 2.27 meters. Since then, ten years have passed. We never thought we were going to wait so long
That kid from Quart de Poblet became the number 1 in the junior world. He endured until comparison with a myth like Javier Sotomayor that, at that same age, only exceeded him by six centimeters: 2.33.
The paper newspapers, which were then paper, referred to him as a future hope for the Olympic medal. He, with curly and messy hair, answered with the best possible argument: a smile that flew to the sky and reminded us that we also have the right to enjoy great talents.
He also didn't talk to you about the technique of jumping, but about the intuition to eat the world and to show that there is something more important than logic in the world: imagination. "Before I set limits and threw them all," explained José Peiró, who was then his coach and who told you about an athlete who had "reactive, unique ankles." It caused us to dream about the future and to put the name of Miguel Ángel Sancho, who showed a meritorious sense of humor by being classified as "a dwarf" in a world of giants.
He was barely 1.80, but we quickly remembered that Stefan Holm was six world champion of high jump and gold in the Athens Olympics with the same stature.
But the world has gone in another direction.
The difference is that ten years have passed and Miguel Ángel Sancho never qualified for a Games nor has he jumped 2.27 meters again. Life has been difficult but not impossible for him, because this is the story of people who never give up. That is why it is an inspiration that invites us to explain that perhaps it is never too late.
At this point in my life, after ten years of waiting, I no longer saw myself writing about him. But in the European Cup of selections this weekend in Poland Miguel Ángel Sancho has returned with that authority he announced at age 18. It has jumped 2.26 meters, just one centimeter from 2009, but perhaps there has been something more important than victory: the feeling he has given to have everything controlled. He has shown us in a single image how difficult and important that is.
One day in that category has been waiting ten years in his life. But he has been able to wait for them because sometimes life consists in waiting and never distrusting that the best thing can happen when people least expect it: I no longer expected this from Miguel Ángel Sancho.
Sometimes, thinking about him, he even returned to that old idea of athletics ("30 or 35% of the elite medalists succeed in the elite") I don't know if that is the case. But it seems to me that it is what one felt in the distance.
Perhaps that is why I have felt the moral duty to write about him and summarize, through him, how difficult it is to live in a forbidden direction. Sometimes it is easier for one to cut off the light to fight against a thousand and one injuries and face that feeling in which, for whatever reason, one does not find his place. There are thousands of lives like that (I understand), but the difference lies in people who don't give up or throw themselves away. No one said it was easy to fulfill a dream.
It has been ten years, indeed. Now, Miguel Ángel Sancho no longer has a teenager's face or as much hair as that kid who defied the myth of Javier Sotomayor. Now, you can throw a whole day talking about the technique. But the difference is that there is still in a test that can be charged corpses in fast motion like high jump. He, despite everything, has become an athlete of admirable longevity.
So nothing more. Thanks to life for showing us people who know how to wait and those who help you wait like that coach, Gustavo Adolfo Becquer, who Miguel Angel Sancho has finally found. And he has arrived in time to solve the puzzle and say: "You have to jump like this." Hence, today we are going to attack the future as if we were 18 years old, to challenge the 2.30 meter barrier and, of course, to reach those Olympic Games that in 2009 Miguel Ángel seemed to have them in the palm of his hand. But life is not always what it seems.