The Legacy of the Parent Athletes

There is no doubt that athletic greatness is achieved with constant work, discipline and dedication, but many times genetic excellence plays a primary role and replaces all those characteristics. On the occasion of the celebration of Father’s Day, this Sunday, we feel like an opportunity to highlight that genetic excellence, directly transmitted from high-performance athlete parents to their children.

It is the undisposable DNA, which together with an example sustained for years, have made the athletic legacy transmitted from generation to generation. In this context we have to mention the swimmer Alberto Mestre, glory of the Venezuelan sport, who has managed to stay current in the elite through his sons Alberto Jr and Alfonso, members of the national team.

Alberto Mestre Sr. competed at just 15 years of age in the Moscow Olympic Games in the 100 and 200 meter freestyle, and at the Pan American Games in Caracas (1983) he won five medals, one silver in the 200 freestyle, bronze in the 100 meter, plus three bronze trophies in the relay with the Venezuelan team.

At the 1984 Olympics, in Los Angeles, Mestre competed again in the 100 and 200 meter freestyle, advancing to the finals in both events, finishing sixth and fifth. That is why no one was surprised that their children took up swimming. Alberto Jr, 23, has an outstanding resume, as he was champion at the Bolivarian Games in Santa Marta 2017 and South American Games in Cochabamba 2018, medalist at the Central American and Caribbean Games in 2018, finalist at the Pan American Games in Lima 2019 , and champion in the South American Swimming 2021.

At the Tokyo Olympics, he was a semifinalist in the 50-meter freestyle. For his part, Alfonso Mestre is the mainstay of the Gators team, from the University of Florida, and recently had an outstanding performance in the National Championship of the NCAA (National Collegiate Athetic Association), proving that he is one of the best in freestyle swimming. the 200 yards in 1:32.11, his personal best over the distance. The same thing happened with Johnny Cecotto, the greatest legend of Venezuelan motorcycling, who later entered Formula 1.

Johnny was world motorcycle champion in the 250 and 350cc classes in the 1970s and later made the jump to motorsport. In 1983 he took part in 23 F1 Grand Prix and had the immortal Ayrton Senna as his partner, who acknowledged in interviews that the man from Caracas had been one of his most competitive companions.

Spurred on by the legend of their father, Johnny Amadeus and Jonathan Cecotto burst into motorsports, the first having come to test in Formula 1, while the youngest of the dynasty (Jonathan) aspires to participate in the most important events in the world, such is the case of the 24 hours of Le Mans, Daytona, Spa-Francorchamps, in the elite DTM and why not? at the Indy 500.

Father and Son Ball Players

In the Major Leagues it has become common for sons to follow in the footsteps of their famous fathers on the diamonds, such is the case of Barry Bonds, who left his father Bobby Bonds behind.

Barry is considered one of the best players in history after setting career home run records (762) and in a season (73), in addition to winning seven Most Valuable Player awards and eight Gold Gloves, among other accolades. His father Bobby also had a successful career with a career average of .268 with 1,886 hits, 332 home runs and 461 stolen bases in 14 seasons.

Perhaps the most famous father-son pair in the Major Leagues was made up of Ken Griffey and Ken Griffey Jr, who even played together in the 1990 and 1991 seasons, becoming the first to perform on the same team. They were also the first to hit consecutive hits and home runs. Ken Griffey Sr. retired in 1991 with excellent numbers (.296, 152 home runs, 2,143 hits) and two World Series rings with the Cincinnati Red Machinery, but his son became one of the great stars and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility after finishing with 2,781 hits, 630 homers and 1,836 RBIs, in addition to winning 10 Gold Gloves.

More recently, it is worth noting the rise of Cavan Biggio, son of Hall of Famer Craig Biggio, who is a fundamental piece of the Toronto Blue Jays; the same as the Dominican Vladimir Guerrero Jr, outstanding son of the also immortal Vladimir Guerrero, and Bo Bichette, scion of Dante Bichette, who formed with Andrés Galarraga, Vinicio Castilla, Larry Walker and Ellis Burks, the powerful dynasty of the “Bombers of the Blake Street” with the Colorado Rockies.

Special mention for Mike Yastrzemski, outfielder for the San Francisco Giants, who is the grandson of none other than Carl Yastrzemski, that exceptional player for the Boston Red Sox who hit the triple crown in 1967 and who today is, justly, a member of the Cooperstown Hall of Fame. Thus, the so-called “genetic excellence” continues today more than ever among parents, children and even grandchildren.

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