The sky’s the limit for Buenos Aires 2018
An expedition will attempt to fly the Youth Olympic flag at the peak of Aconcagua - the highest mountain in the Americas - as part of an initiative to bring the practice of sport to people with learning disabilities.
The endeavour will take approximately two weeks, and the expedition team comprises 11 athletes and sports enthusiasts. The team started on their mission to fly the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic flag at the summit of the highest mountain outside Asia which sits at 6,960.8 metres high in the Andes, in the Mendoza province of Argentina.
The expedition team will include three Argentine Olympic athletes: judoka Paula Pareto, gold medallist at Rio 2016; basketball player Fabricio Oberto, gold medallist at Athens 2004 and bronze medallist at Beijing 2008; and Maria del Pilar Pereyra, a swimmer who competed at Atlanta 1996 and Sydney 2000, and who won a bronze medal at the 1995 Pan American Games in Mar del Plata. Eighty-three-year-old runner Elisa Sampietro de Forti, who has already crossed the Andes mountain range three times, will also join the group!
The project, known as “Summit Aconcagua”, aims to raise funds for a programme set up by the Fundación Baccigalupo, an initiative that brings sports to people with learning disabilities.
Leandro Larrosa, CEO of the Buenos Aires 2018 Organising Committee, said: “[This is] an opportunity to show the world and our young people that when you make the effort you can achieve goals such as this one. I want to thank them for the effort they are going to make to bring our flag, that of the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games, to the highest point on the continent.”
Rio 2016 gold medallist Paula Pareto said: “I think it’s great and really important, it’s what they called me for and why I agreed to do it. I think it has everything to do with the Olympic spirit and values.”
The trek participants will be accompanied by a technical crew and medical team. The plan is for all 11 participants to arrive at the base camp at 4,350 metres. From there, only a few participants will continue the ascent with the goal of reaching the summit - at 6,960 metres - sometime between 1 and 5 March.
The climb began on 19 February, and the team’s progress can be followed on the Buenos Aires 2018 website and social media.