Ana Gabriela Guevara, Mexico

Ana Gabriela Guevara, Mexico
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Former world-class Mexican athlete Ana Gabriela Guevara is now a Senator. She works for social justice and considers it an honour to have entered politics.

Senator Ana Gabriela Guevara is an icon in Mexico. Her career as a 400m athlete took her to the very top, becoming world champion in 2003 and winning an Olympic silver medal at the Athens games the following year.

She retired from sport in 2009 and entered politics with the clear idea of reaching her objective of a more equal society through the same values that made of her the best Mexican athlete of all time: discipline, hard work, compromise and respect.

Ana Gabriela Guevara says it is an honour to be in the Senate, which is normally reserved for politicians with long careers. 

She was born in the northern city of Nogales, on the border with the US. 

A Senator since 2012, she is a member of the leftist Labor Party.

Why did you decide to enter politics?

We all have our political side. There is politics at home, there is politics at school. We live politics in our towns and villages where there are rules and the need to reach agreements. I was always interested in politics, so it is an honour for me being a member of the Senate, which in Mexico is seen as a chamber for politicians with long experience. Thanks to a nomination from the presidential candidate Manuel López Obrador I have now the opportunity to be a Senator, and I really enjoy it.

What is your first memory of an interest in politics?

As an adolescent I was involved in the students’ movement. Right then and there I understood politics was about reaching agreements and compromise. Later on as an athlete I became acquainted with politicians of all stripes and levels of responsibility, from local municipalities to the President of the Republic. It was a long process that made my interest in politics grow.

How was your relationship with politicians when you were one of the most famous people in Mexico?

It was a win-win situation. Politicians reached out to me in many cases to have a photo opportunity and I reached out to them to try to influence political decisions regarding sports, to obtain opportunities and support for Mexican athletes.

What was the most difficult thing of your career change?

It is a different way of working to get results. As an athlete I had to beat the clock, so the objectives and goals were very clear and concrete in the short, medium and long term. In politics, everything runs by a different clock, an hourglass you can stop and start at your will, because achieving your goals is more important than the time it takes. That is the hardest part for me. However, I understand politics and parliament is about debating, analyzing, reviewing and reaching difficult consensus.

What is your formula for staying in touch with the citizens you represent?

I am a celebrity in my country. Before being a Senator, I was very well-known, so everyone recognizes me. Paradoxically, my relationship with the people is closer than before because now I can speak with them when I walk the streets or move around in my bicycle. When I was at the peak of my career in sport, it was unthinkable I could be in a public space in any part of Mexico without causing turmoil. Now, it doesn’t happen any more. People still come to me, but now we can talk quietly.

What would you be doing had you not been elected to the Senate?

I like coaching. It is something I have already done for universities and companies. They know sport is the best school to learn values such as hard work, commitment and discipline. They look for people like me who have grown up in that school to pass on those values to their students and workers.