How mother Mariana Avitia is eyeing Olympic return

Mariana Avitia in action under the rain.


Mariana Avitia became Mexico’s first-ever Olympic archery medallist at London 2012 and she now has eyes on adding to her collection following the birth of her son.

Avitia was just 18 when she entered Mexican sporting folklore, beating five-time Olympian Khatuna Lorig in the recurve women’s individual bronze medal match to seal a historic place on the podium.

She has not returned to the grandest of stages since, but following a break from the sport with the arrival of her son Mateo in September 2020, the 30-year-old is targeting an appearance at Paris 2024.

“It is a challenge, a dream and a goal that I want to achieve,” Avitia said.

“The Olympics is the most important competition there can be and it has always been very significant.”

After shooting taking up the sport back in 2022, Avitia’s Olympic odyssey began in 2008 when, aged just 14, she was the youngest member of her country’s squad in Beijing.

Mariana Avitia on the London 2012 podium.

Back then, many of her friends did not know the sport she would be competing in, but Mexico has grown into a dominant force in the time since. 

“The truth is that I used to talk about archery and nobody knew what it was,” she explained. “After the results of 2012, it was like an impressive boom.”

“Everyone wanted to do this sport and as the years went by, a lot of people became interested in archery.”

Having waited 40 years for one Olympic archery medal, Mexico earned two on the same day in London as Aida Roman earned silver from the final which followed Avitia’s match.

Their achievements put archery on the map in their home nation and Mexico was back among the medals at Tokyo 2020, Luis Alvarez and Alejandra Valencia winning mixed team bronze.

Now everyone every Mexican knows what archery is and the nation has evolved a lot at all levels.

“We have grown both as a team and as individuals and it was a very rapid rise. In the blink of an eye, Mexico was in finals.”

In all major events today at Olympic Games, World Championships, World Cups, Pan American Games and Central American Games Mexican archers are always seen as a powerhouse.

Mariana Avitia shooting at London 2012 Olympic Games.

Now 29, Avitia looks back fondly on the moment that changed everything for her and the sport in Mexico.

“Knowing we made history, knowing I made history, is something very cool,” she said.

“The fact that many people recognise you now and many people are obviously motivated to take up this sport simply because they have seen you in a competition at the Olympic Games is incredible.”

Although she has missed several Olympic cycles as an athlete, she is still left with that little nagging feeling of wanting to give more, of wanting to win more.

The young mother has already been an Olympic medallist, but she wants more. She has that desire to be able to continue competing and hopes for that dream.

“Representing your country for a few minutes is a wonderful thing,” she added.

“So the fact that I am talking about Paris 2024, and being able to fulfil the dream of being an Olympic athlete again and give everything to win another Olympic medal, is great.”

Mariana Avitia with teammates at World Archery Championships 2017.

The Mexican women claimed a full contingent of three quota places when the Olympic qualification process started in August during the world championships in Berlin.

But it was courtesy Roman, Valencia and 17-year-old Angela Ruiz

Although taking part in all World Cup stages with her teammates in 2023, Avitia has clearly been the number four in the squad lately.

And places in the Olympic team at next year’s Games will be at a premium when she wants to become a three-time Olympian.

“You set yourself that goal and you want to surpass something you haven’t been able to achieve,” concluded Avitia.