Ivan Espinosa talks drawing and Rio 2016

US Virgin Islands’ sole representative at September’s Paralympic Games is also a talented artist. 08 Sep 2016
Man in a staduim, waving a flag followed by two other people

Middle Distance runner Ivan Espinosa is the only athlete to represent the US Virgin Islands at the Toronto 2015 Parapans

ⒸLaura Godenzi

When he is not fulfilling his obligations as a maintenance foreman or training hard, US Virgin Islands’ track and field athlete Ivan Espinosa spends his time drawing portraits and real-life objects.

Espinosa attributes his passion for drawing to his genes: his siblings Kareem, Edward, Wilma, Cynthia and Shanna are also engaged in art.

“I took up drawing at five-years-old or maybe even before,” said Espinosa.

“No one taught me to draw and I believe it is some kind of family creative thing since all my siblings are also very good at it as well.”

The 34-year-old devotes his time to drawing when he is not working or training.

“I get the pencil and start drawing when I have nothing else to do or when I feel creative,” he said.

“I like drawing portraits and real-life objects such as flowers or fruits, and it makes me feel relaxed. When I see them, I ask myself: ‘Can I draw that? Can I replicate that image?’

“The more difficult something is to draw, the more motivated and inspired I feel to complete my work. I always also try to improve from my previous drawings.”

Espinosa, who will compete in the 1,500m T38, mentions Dutch Maurits Escher as one of his favourite graphic artists. “I really like his work,” he said.

But US Virgin Islands’ sole representative at Rio 2016 remains determined to impress at his first Paralympic Games.

“It will be a huge opportunity for me to show what I am capable of,” he said.

“From the moment I received the confirmation that I was going to compete in Rio, I started working harder towards my main goal: winning Paralympic gold.

“But the truth is it will be very hard and I do not know how I will perform.”

Last year, Espinosa took part in his first major international event, the Parapan American Games in Toronto, Canada.

“I felt very proud for representing my country at Toronto 2015 and I cannot wait now to have another wonderful experience in Rio,” he said.

“This will be a nice opportunity to compete against the world’s best and hopefully all the hard work will pay off.”


Sport fans from around the world can now buy their Paralympic tickets for Rio 2016 from authorised ticket resellers (ATRs).

The IPC’s Global ATR is Jet Set Sports, and Rio 2016 tickets and packages can be purchased on the CoSport website.

Residents of Brazil can buy 2016 Paralympics tickets directly from the Rio 2016 website.

Visa International is the exclusive payment card and the official payment system for the Paralympic Games.