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Paula Pareto may have the nickname ‘La Peque’ meaning ‘Little One’, but she has never stood so tall! The 1.5 metre Olympic judo champion, who claimed gold for Argentina at Rio 2016, has been depicted in a 55-metre-high mural that stands proudly in Villa Soldati, the home of the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Village.
To celebrate the unveiling last week, Paula first visited some of the 200 pupils at the neighbourhood school who took part in the project by creating their own artwork for the judoka’s visit and got to meet her in person to ask questions to their Olympic hero and hear about her own personal challenges she has overcome to become a successful athlete. The pupils then joined Paula to see the finished mural followed by a judo clinic to hone their skills!
Considered a national treasure, Paula was chosen to be part of the street art project for her inspiring acheivements both on and off the field of play. When Paula isn’t winning gold medals she is tending to hospital patients as part of her day job as a physician, a profession she qualified in from the University of Buenos Aires in 2014.
The mural stands at 55 metres high and required 180 litres of paint. Four artists took part in its creation lead by renowned street artist Martin Ron, which took 15 days of work to complete. The mural is the second of three giant street art projects around the Youth Olympic Park zone, with the next one set to be unveiled at the end of the year. Local residents helped to choose the image as part of a public vote of which 13,000 people voted.
These murals will remain until long after the Games have concluded forming part of legacy of the Youth Olympic Village – a major social and urban city project for the 2018 YOG that will become affordable housing following the Games.
The third edition of the Youth Olympic Games will take place between 6-18 October 2018.
Ariel Garcia Gimenez