“We trained so hard for the Paralympic Games, always thinking that we could win gold."
At her first Paralympics in Arnhem, the Netherlands, in 1980, Dora Garcia made history alongside Rosa Camara, Juana Soto and Angeles Valdez, claiming gold in the women´s 4x60m 2-5, one of the 20 titles the Mexican delegation sealed at those Games.
Never again would Garcia top the podium at a Paralympic Games, making that first performance an unforgettable experience for her.
“I especially remember the Opening Ceremony, it was beautiful,” she said.
“Also, I enjoyed living and interacting with athletes from all around the world. It was different to anything I had ever experienced. There was such a friendly atmosphere.
“The volunteers were always ready to help you. I will never forget those Games.”
In the lead-up to Arnhem 1980, Garcia decided to make a team with Camara, Soto and Valdez because she felt together they could achieve something big.
“We trained so hard for the Paralympic Games, always thinking that we could win gold. We knew it was going to be hard, but we worked hard to achieve that goal,” she said.
“Besides, we were all big friends. The relationship with all of them was excellent, they were like my sisters. And when that happens, when the team is so united, everything is easier.”
The Mexican quartet qualified for the final as the fastest team after clocking 55.87 in the heats. They were a bit slower in the gold-medal race (56.20), but still fast enough to overtake the USA´s team by 0.10 seconds.
“It was the greatest feeling, we were such a great team,” said Garcia, who contracted polio at two years old.
Garcia competed in eight more consecutive Paralympic Games, winning four silvers and five bronzes. “It is all about working hard and setting the highest possible objective,” she said.
Editor’s note: “Throwback Thursday” is a feature series published on Paralympic.org twice a month, bringing you some of the top Paralympic athletes of the past.