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Ernesto Canto, Mexican Olympic medalist, dies

The Mexican Ernesto Canto, olympic championor the 20-kilometer walk in Los Angeles 1984, he died this Friday as a result of complications derived from a aggressive cancer.

The Mexican Olympic Committee reported the death of the 61-year-old former athlete, the only olympic athlete of the country to win every possible title in his sport.

Born in Mexico City on October 18, 1959, Canto became known as an athletics great by winning the 1981 World Cup in Valencia, although his first major triumph was on August 7, 1983 in Helsinki, where he He became champion of the 20-kilometer walk and won the first medal of the first world championships in athletics.

That time Canto stopped the clocks at 1h20: 49 to take 10 seconds ahead of Czech Jozef Pribilinec; a year later he was confirmed as the best in the world by winning gold in the Los Angeles Olympics, with 1h23: 13 and seven seconds ahead of his compatriot Raúl González.

By winning the Pan American Games in Caracas 1983 and the Central American and Caribbean Games in Havana 1982, the Mexican completed the virtuous circle of an Olympic athlete, by winning gold medals in all possible competitions in his discipline, which no one repeated in the country among men and only the taekwondo champion María Espinoza did it among women.

Canto began his sports career enchanted by the feat of his compatriot José Pedraza, Olympic runner-up in Mexico 1968 and from a young age he showed a talent that he combined with an ascetic discipline.

World record holder shortly before his Olympic title, walking the 20 kilometers in 1h18: 40, he is considered one of the greatest athletes in Latin America in the 20th century.

A few months ago he was diagnosed with liver and pancreatic cancer, which he assumed with the same courage from his days as an athlete when pain and fatigue punished him in the final kilometers.

“The Mexican Olympic family mourns the death of Ernesto Canto, member of the Executive Committee of the Mexican Olympic Committee, an icon of the world march; he won everything,” said the Olympic Committee of Mexico on his twitter account.