Rojas beat Bronze medal winner Olga Rypakova from Kazakhstan for second place in the women’s triple jump after leaping 14.98 metres, while Colombia’s Caterine Ibarguen took home the gold.
“I am very happy, very proud to have achieved this medal for my country, despite my age… I just want to thank everyone who is supporting me… and I hope the thirty million inhabitants are enjoying this medal!” said the visibly enthused athlete to Venezuelan television channel TVES.
As Venezuela’s first medal win in the 2016 Rio Olympics and its thirteenth Olympic medal overall, Sunday’s result saw an outpouring of support from Venezuelans across social media, including from the country’s President, Nicolas Maduro.
“Yulimar Rojas, tremendous young woman… Thank you from Venezuela… The Golden Generation… Congratulations beloved homeland. Long live Venezuela!” he wrote on Twitter.
The win was also met with jubilation from Venezuela’s LGBTQ movement, who celebrate Rojas as the first Venezuelan sportswoman to have publicly identified with the LGBTQ community. Rojas has previously celebrated her relationship with her girlfriend on Twitter and has thanked her for her ongoing support.
She follows in the footsteps of fellow Venezuelan sportswomen, Adriana Carmona and Dalia Contreras, who both won Bronze Olympic medals for Taekwondo in 2004 and 2008.