Life has gotten quite busy for Leo Manzano since he won silver in the 1500 meters at the London Olympics.
“It’s been pretty demanding, actually, and I’m trying to work around that schedule and training,” he said. “I’ve had a few appearances, here and there. Recently, I shook hands with the President and gave the First Lady a hug. Straight from there I got to go to L.A. for the ALMA Awards. Then most recently I went to a 50th anniversary gala for the Texas Heart Institute. Next week is the Vice President’s Hispanic Heritage reception. It’s been really fun.”
The ALMA Awards highlight American Latino contributions in music, television, and film; September is Hispanic Heritage Month. Manzano, who has lived in the United States since he was a young child, was born in Mexico.
Continuing to train and race with a busy schedule and with the adrenaline dialed back after the Games has also proved to be challenging.
“After the Olympics, it was just a super-emotional high,” he said. “It’s so hard. You really try to get up for these next couple of races, but it is so hard to match the Olympics. I have raced a couple of times, and they have been fair. I had a season-best in Lausanne of 3:34.08. It’s been good, but it’s also been tough.”
Manzano said he would like to end his banner season on a high note by winning the Fifth Avenue Mile.
“That would be the goal,” he said. “That would be great.”
Rowbury to Link Arts, Athletics in Foundation
Like most athletes, Shannon Rowbury has been singular of focus during 2012. With the season winding down, the two-time Olympian is taking the opportunity to realize some big-picture goals.
Together with her boyfriend Pablo Solares, the Mexican national-record holder in the 800 meters, 1500 meters, and mile, Rowbury is starting a foundation called Imagining More, which is aimed at creating opportunities for young women in arts and athletics.
“For both Pablo and myself, we have both been athletes but have also been into the arts as well and from my experience that has been a unique thing,” Rowbury said. “It has been hugely beneficial in my life because having the arts has been a great creative mental outlet for me and athletics has kept me healthy and given me a good competitive physical outlet.”
Rowbury said the foundation will initially be focused on Latino women, partly because in her trips to Mexico for high-altitude training she has been amazed to see how many young women there are not athletic at all.
“So many girls hit 13 and their only option is to get married and have kids,” she said. “If they are more affluent, they will go to school but are remarkably inactive.”
Rowbury said the foundation will have a kickoff fund-raiser at the end of October for which Solares has donated some of his paintings for auction. The money raised will be used to enable one girl from Mexico and one girl from the San Francisco area to create an art project about what it means to be a woman and an athlete. Those exhibits will be shown at a gallery in the spring and, hopefully, raise scholarship money for the two chosen artists.
“It’s exciting to be able to, after being so self-centered for the last three months, think about the bigger picture,” Rowbury said.
“Our races are to our sport what Wimbledon and the Australian, U.S., and French Opens are to tennis, and what the Masters, U.S., and British Opens and PGA Championship are to golf. Each race has the history, the tradition, the honor roll of legendary champions, and a special place in the eyes of all to make them stand apart from the other events.” Mary Wittenberg