Cinco de Mayo celebrates the Mexican victory over France at the Battle of Puebla in 1862. Mexico’s greatest Olympic achievement occurred 106 years later, when its capital hosted the 1968 Summer Games.
Mexico City’s Olympics are best remembered for Americans Tommie Smith and John Carlos‘ black-glove salute on the medal stand after winning gold and bronze, respectively, in the 200m. It was also Mexico’s most successful Olympics in overall medals — nine. Golds were won by boxers Ricardo Delgado and Antonio Roldan and swimmer Felipe Munoz.
Mexico’s most decorated Olympian is Joaquin Capilla, who won four medals over the 1948-56 Olympics in diving, traditionally one of Mexico’s best Olympic sports.
More recent Mexican Olympic notables include race walker Bernardo Segura, who won 20km bronze in 1996 and crossed the finish line first in 2000. However, he was disqualified in Sydney for the common infraction of “lifting,” or not having at least one foot on the ground, three times in the race. Segura had reportedly received congratulations, including speaking on the phone with Mexico’s president, before officials broke the news to him.
Sprinter Ana Guevara was in a lane next to Australian hero Cathy Freeman in the 2000 Olympic 400m final and finished fifth. Guevara won the 2003 World Championship and then silver in the 400m at the Athens Olympics.
Mexico had its most successful Olympics other than 1968 in London in 2012, winning seven medals. The soccer team’s first-ever gold, over Brazil, was the most celebrated.
Mexico earned rare Winter Olympic buzz in Sochi for the presence of its lone athlete, Alpine skier Prince Hubertus von Hohenlohe, who became the second oldest Winter Olympian of all time at 55. They marked his record-tying sixth Winter Olympics.
Former world No. 1 golfer Lorena Ochoa, who retired in 2010 at age 28, has said she is not tempted to come back for golf’s return to the Olympics in 2016. If she reconsidered, her path to Rio de Janeiro would not be that difficult. Ochoa would have to be ranked No. 470 to make the Olympic golf field if it was chosen based off the world rankings on Cinco de Mayo.
A possible Mexico bid for the 2024 Olympics now appears unlikely.