Born in Mexico, Leo Manzano’s rise to two-time Olympian was as unlikely as it is inspiring, reports Latino Fox News. The 27-year-old runner will compete as part of Team USA in the 1500 meters in London.
Born in Mexico, Manzano moved to the United States with his family when he was 4. He was raised in Texas, where he became a nine-time state track champion.
College had never really been something Manzano viewed as an opportunity available to him. Track made that not only a possibility, but a reality. He attended the University of Texas on a track scholarship, where he became a four-time national champion and nine-time All-American.
Manzano became a U.S. citizen in late 2004. Four years later, he made his Olympic debut in Beijing. Manzano was one of just a handful of Latino athletes on the team. (An Associated Press review of the 2008 U.S. Olympic team found Hispanics made up only about 4 percent of athletes.)
After six years of (literally) chasing a national title in the 1500 – and finishing as runner-up four times – Manzano crossed the finish line in first at the 2012 Olympic trials. The win gave Manzano his much-sought national championship and also secured his second straight trip to the Olympics.