Among the 231 women in the Cuban delegation to the Pan American Games in Toronto, one has won medals at four previous games.
Yoanka Gonzalez was born in the town of Cifuentes in the province of Villa Clara, and is one of the emblematic figures of cycling and the sports movement on the island, not only for her collection of medals, including an Olympic silver, but also for her persistent delivery.
Twenty years ago, she attended her first Pan American games at age 19, in Argentina in the tourist city of Mar del Plata, winning silver in the 3000 meters individual pursuit.
At the following games in Winnipeg, she returned to the podium with a bronze, before coming in second to win silver in the individual road race. Yoanka confirmed her skills on the same track in Santo Domingo 2003, when in addition to triumphing in the individual road race, she collected the silver medal in the three kilometer pursuit and bronze in the points race.
In 2003 the extraordinary cyclist became the first Cuban cycling world medalist, winning bronze in the Stuttgart, Germany championships, and in 2004 she won gold in the scratch race, this time in Melbourne, Australia.
In Rio de Janeiro 2007 she returned to climb to the top of the podium in the individual road race, in which she had become an expert. Not by chance one year later she won silver in the Beijing Olympics.
Yoanka was absent from Guadalajara 2011, but got the most precious medal: her daughter.
She returned to cycling in 2013, and will compete in the upcoming games and return home with a medal on her chest.
Since women’s cycling first appeared on the program in Indianapolis 1987, Yoanka Gonzales (2-3-2) has dominated the podium with three others: Colombian Maria Luisa Calle (3-2-2), Canada’s Clara Hughes ( 1-3-3) and her partner Yumari Gonzalez (1-2-4).
Toronto can define who breaks the tie.