This special woman, Carmen Lopez from Madrid, Spain is the first Down Syndrome athlete to 1) compete in an international tournament and 2) win a bronze medal!
Carmen was supported in every match by the Spanish team on the sidelines, rooting her on! Her excitement after good rallies and points was infectious!
After the tournament Carmen was awarded the special traveling paddle which started in Finland a year ago and is passed each tournament to a deserving player who was the epitome of sportsmanship and respected by all. After a heartwarming speech by Carmen, she entrusted the paddle to Roberto Rospo, Captain of the European Bainbridge Cup team, to take it to Italy in July where he and others will decide who is worthy of its next designation.
Carmen has set the bar high in terms of integrity, dedication to the sport and willingness to work hard. She is a true World Ambassador of Pickleball.
I am honored to have made her acquaintance, watched her play, felt her warm embraces, and witnessed her make pickleball history. ❤️❤️