Donovan Carrillo Is the First Figure Skater to Represent Mexico in More Than 30 Years

He just made history by being the first Mexican figure skater to advance to the free skate portion of the competition.

Jean Catuffe/Getty Images Europe/Gett Images

Donovan Carrillo didn't have the typical training grounds for an Olympic athlete. In training for Beijing 2022, he practiced at a mall rink and gave skating lessons for extra cash, according to HuffPost. But despite sometimes having to practice around couples on ice skating dates, Carrillo made history on February 8.

Carrillo is the first Mexican figure skater to advance to the free skate portion of the competition, and the first figure skater from the country to compete in the Winter Olympics in 30 years.

"I always wanted to be at the Olympics. I used to talk about this dream with people," an ecstatic Carrillo said according to NBC News. "They were always laughing or telling me that it was impossible for a Mexican to qualify."

The performance that helped him advance to the next round included some patriotism. He skated to Santana and his blades bore the colors of the Mexican flag. Even his costume was made by a Mexican fashion designer.

"I didn't want it to end," Carrillo said to HuffPost. "I wanted to keep skating and living the Olympic dream."

Carrillo's score on Tuesday—79.69—was far below the top score from Nathan Chen, who set a record with a score of 113.97 (Confused? Here's a breakdown on the notoriously complicated scoring system used in figure skating). It will likely mean that the free skate on Thursday will be his last skate of the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing. But the 22-year-old still has big goals for future Olympics.

"I think this Olympics—thinking more in the future—are going to be key to prepare myself for the next Olympic cycle, with the main focus on Milan 2026," Carrillo told the Associated Press.

Check back during the Games for all of Thrillist's continuing Olympics coverage. Think of us like an all-knowing friend watching along with you to answer all the most important questions, like how heavy Olympic medals are, or how you can tell the difference between luge, skeleton, and bobsled. We'll explain everything fromwhy the triple axel is such a big deal, to how the Russian team found a sneaky way to wear its flag despite a ban, and much, much more.

Want more Thrillist? Follow us on InstagramTwitterPinterestYouTubeTikTok, and Snapchat.

Opheli Garcia Lawler is a staff writer at Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter @opheligarcia and Instagram @opheligarcia.