The Exciting Journey of an Athlete Inspiring to Overcome Obstacles and Promote Diversity in Sports
Baltazar de Anda, a symbol of strength and perseverance in Madison’s Latino community, embarks on his fifth Iron Man, not only as an athletic pursuit but as a symbol of representation for his community on the international stage.
“Participating in these competitions and, in some way, representing my Latino community in Madison is an honor,” shared Baltazar de Anda in an exclusive interview with La Comunidad News ONLINE.
Reflecting on the challenges preceding the Iron Man, Baltazar de Anda highlighted the difficulty posed by gaining 30 pounds since his last competition. “Today I weigh 195 pounds compared to the 165 pounds last September. The additional weight made training significantly more difficult,” he admitted. Balancing this with a busy year at the Latino Academy, where significant milestones were achieved, made training challenging. “My mind often played tricks, telling me I couldn’t do the Iron Man because I was overweight, but I managed to overcome those doubts and persevere in my training.”
For Baltazar de Anda, the Iron Man holds a deeper significance, intertwining his Latino heritage and cultural values into his intense training regimen. “I dedicate these competitions to my community, especially to the undocumented community besieged by many policies of this country. The Iron Man in Arizona is especially special because 23 years ago, I crossed the border between Mexico and the United States through Sonoyta. It’s a reminder of my roots and how I came to this country.”
When asked about the potential impact of his performance on Wisconsin’s Latino community, Baltazar de Anda emphasized the importance of diversity in sports. “It’s an achievement. There aren’t many Latinos in Madison doing this, so promoting diversity in sports is crucial. I don’t do this because I’m a super-athlete; I do it to challenge myself and continue growing as a person.”
The unwavering support of his community remains a driving force in Baltazar de Anda’s journey. “My community has supported me incredibly. I am fully grateful to the board and staff of the Latino Academy, who provided me with this opportunity. I am also deeply grateful for my husband, Mark, whose unwavering support makes this possible. I appreciate everyone who has supported me in various ways to get to this point. Being part of the Madison Multisport team and having Coach Steve has been instrumental in my progress.”
Baltazar de Anda’s participation serves as inspiration for young Latinos in Wisconsin, urging them to pursue similar aspirations and push their limits. “It’s an opportunity I would love more young people to follow. Participating in the Iron Man is tough, but it’s an excellent opportunity to learn to swim, ride a bike, and run.”
Reflecting on the importance of family and community support, Baltazar de Anda emphasized, “Without my family and community support, I couldn’t do this. Their support means everything to me.”
With mental preparation at the core of this demanding event, Baltazar de Anda shared his approach. “It’s said to be more of a mental challenge than a physical one. I work on my goals, visualize the race, and prepare for possible setbacks. Above all, my family, students from the Latino Academy, and the undocumented community are present throughout this journey, propelling me toward the finish line.”
In conclusion, Baltazar de Anda shares a powerful message with La Comunidad News readers and the Latino community of Wisconsin about the importance of sports and personal achievement. “You don’t need to do an Iron Man to exercise. It’s crucial to stay healthy and active. And if you end up gaining 30 pounds like me, keep going. Exercise isn’t just for the thin; we, the ‘heavier’ ones, also have the opportunity to exercise and move forward.”
Baltazar de Anda’s journey embodies resilience, determination, and a spirit that transcends mere physical prowess, inspiring a community to pursue their dreams despite adversity.