The goodbye of a Little Giant: 2021 was the year of Paula Pareto's retirement

They say that in the Olympic village, the few who found out were surprised by a new example of Paula Pareto. There were days until his debut in his fourth and last Olympic Game, but Peque would lock himself in his room at times to first study and then take the final exam in Orthopedics and Traumatology.

Because in addition to being one of the best judocas in the world, the Argentine double Olympic medalist sought to pass the oral exam well to pass the three-year course and thus advance in her profession, the same one that she passed through during these last years in which she remained in the world elite of his sport.

An exemplary, inspiring case, without a doubt. “I never wanted privileged treatment, the other way around … From the first day I asked the teachers to demand me as one more. This time, the two who took me only gave me the benefit of performing first because they knew I was in the village and had to go to training. But nothing else. I am a normal person, like all my colleagues, and it is not appropriate to have a special treatment. Maybe on a tatami I can have it, because of what I did and even though I don’t like it either, but as a doctor it has nothing to do with it, “explains Peque, bluntly, after returning from Japan, where she scratched but couldn’t get a third Olympic medal.

When the last fight ended, that July 24, Pareto announced his retirement after 16 years in the world elite, which include 13 Pan American medals (six golds), three in Pan American Games (one gold), three in World Cups (one gold) and two at the Olympics (gold in 2016 and bronze in 2008).

Now another stage in her life has opened for her despite the fact that, while she was quarantining at her home after returning from Tokyo, she could be seen training as if she were going to play another tournament. “I am like that, I can’t stop and more when there are some challenges that I like. I motivate myself and people love these exercises of difficulty. They have a lot of repercussion, people return you with comments like ‘you gave me the strength to go out or to go to training’. As long as it motivates a person, the objective is accomplished ”, he says, although not without admitting that these actions will be exceptions.

“Training I am not going to stop training, but not so much judo anymore, more than anything because of the physical fatigue and injuries that I have accumulated in recent years. If I have to put on the kimono to help the girls of the National Team, I will do it, without a charge, even if they have proposed it to me … But now without the obligation of having to train for a competition as before, “he explains .

-For parents there is the syndrome of the empty nest when the children leave the house. Do you think the same thing will happen to you, a void, that you are going to miss this training and be an elite athlete?

-I don’t think I feel that empty nest syndrome (laughs). The other day I was in training and I said to Laura (Martinel, his coach) ‘how happy I am to see him from the outside’. She, precisely, told me that, when she retired, she did not put on the kimono for five years. I don’t think so much, but I feel like I’ve already given everything, as I said in Tokyo, that I don’t have more. The last few months were not easy. I am not saying that I suffered them, but it was not like before. The pain, the injuries, the time without sleeping well, the trips … It is not easy to bear all that, it is costing you mentally. Say everything and a little more.

It was the end of a beautiful story. That of the first Argentine to achieve an Olympic gold medal. That of whoever was responsible for many of his compatriots beginning to understand some of the rules of judo.

In short, the story of a huge Argentine ambassador to the world.