Sebastián Rodriguez has come a long way. This Spanish athlete takes part in the Tokyo Paralympic Games, which started on August 25 in Japan. His participation in the competition is atypical. Indeed, the 64-year-old has come a long way. Sebastián Rodriguez has a long history as a prisoner. Before becoming a star of the basins, he is suspected of having participated in the Grapo (anti-fascist resistance groups October 1) and other anti-Franco movements in the 70s. Sebastián Rodriguez will be sentenced to 84 years in prison. In 1990, along with other alleged members of the Grapo, he began a hunger strike in prison for the regrouping of prisoners. A 435-day hunger strike that will leave an indelible mark on his body.
Sebastián Rodriguez loses the use of his legs. His protein deficit led to his hospitalization and then his release from prison in 1994. “I have the impression that I had become someone else. I weighed 80 kg when entering, 38 kg when leaving,” he confided to Liberation. . Its ascent will be gradual. In 1995, Sebastián Rodríguez won the championship of Galicia, then that of Spain, before winning, three years later, at the European level.
A repentant of the pools
In 2000, he set off for the Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia. Since then, he will snatch fifteen medals: eight gold, four silver and three bronze. A success that he owes to his perseverance. At Liberation, he still confided: “Our medals do not bring in a penny. In Spain, I am nothing. I just have free access to a swimming pool.” In 2007, Sebastián Rodriguez was finally officially pardoned by the Spanish government. “During my life, I understood that I had been wrong, he confided to the BBC in 2012. I tried to rectify all that and I continue to do it. There is nothing that I do. can do with the past. But I can make the future different. ” On Instagram, he is followed by a small community of 2,000 Internet users. On his account, he publishes photos of his training sessions and his relatives. Breathing on his lips, he appears appeased. A repentant who found the key to happiness in the practice of swimming.
Sebastian Rodriguez © INSTAGRAM / SEBASTIAN RODRIGUEZ