Updated 07/22/2021 – 03:28
They have been friends since they were five and they studied together at school Asuncin Rincon de Madrid. After they shared classes at the Institute Saint Isidore of Seville and now they also enjoy their first Olympic experience in Tokyo together. Shooter Carlos Llavador and the ‘Redstick’ Ricardo Sanchez only separated their paths to study the race. The first one opted for Sciences of Physical Activity and Sports, while the second one did for Industrial Engineering.
They hit it off since shared after-school field hockey classes. “I started a year before him and when he entered I had to teach him how to play and so on until he was 14 years old,” Llavador says laughing. “My brother played and I took a liking to him. For a few years I was playing at school on the same team as Carlos,” adds Richi.
Llavador, what He had started fencing when he was 8 years old, combining the stick with the foil until he was 13 But, as his father had already warned him, there came a time when he had to choose between the two because he did not have time for studies and two sports. Then he opted for fencing. “In the end, when we saw that he was good, we forgave him, but the day he left the team he left us a bit lame,” laughs Richi.
Llavador (first from the left of the bottom row) and Richi (third from the right).
“They put the cross on me,” he adds, laughing also Llavador. You can see the complicity between them in each answer, in the jokes and in the details. In short, it shows that their friendship is real. “Carlos is the idol of our group, we have him as a reference. He is a magnificent athlete and also as a person. It’s fun and always generates good vibes, “says the ‘Redstick’.”Richi is the one who always proposes plans in the group, he is very fun and active“, says Llavador,” although sometimes he is a bore, “he jokes.
Parallel lives outside of Spain
Both, in addition to friendship, also share other facets. Carlos had to leave Spain and move to Frascati (Italy) to take a leap in quality in fencing. There, it is the Olympic sport with the most medals: 125, more than double that of athletics (60), the second most awarded transalpine sport in the Games.
In Italy he also learned not to settle and never give up. Richi spent two years playing at KHC Leuven in Leuven and one in Ghent to grow as a player. This year has won the first league in the history of the men’s team with the Country Club Madrid. Now, in Tokyo, he hopes to put the icing on the cake with the ‘Redsticks’ to a season to frame.
I dream of winning the Olympic gold and scoring the goal of the final that gives us that gold
Richi Snchez, hockey player
“I dream of winning the Olympic gold and scoring the goal in the final that gives us that gold,” he says, dreaming aloud. His friend Llavador is also ambitious. “We come for the gold,” he says without hesitation.
Spain did not classify any fencing fencer since Jos Luis Abajo Pirri’s Olympic bronze at the 2008 Beijing Games. Now all hopes are pinned on him. “I don’t feel pressure. I try to focus on the competition. I prepare it as one more,” he explains.
We come for the gold
Carlos Llavador, shooter
A year ago they were together on vacation with their group of friends and began to dream about the idea of sharing the Olympic Games. “We said:” Hopefully next summer we are in Tokyo! This summer we already have a house in Portugal to celebrate it, “they add laughing.
The smile is not erased from their faces, they are happy to be able to share this experience and to fulfill a dream that comes from behind. “Every time I leave the Villa apartment I go excited. I am hallucinating with what they have ridden and with the athletes that you come across. I do not lose that emotion and joy. In Barajas I ran into Craviotto and Marcus Cooper and spoke with them. Craviotto is an icon for me “, recognizes Richi.” The best thing is to live with the rest of the Spanish athletes in these first Games, “adds Carlos.