Jaime Espinal

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Jaime Espinal
Personal information
Nationality Dominican/Puerto Rican
Born (1984-10-14) October 14, 1984 (age 30)
Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
Height 1.78 m (5 ft 10 in)
Weight 84 kg (185 lb)
Sport Freestyle wrestling

Jaime Yusept Espinal (born October 14, 1984) is a Dominican/Puerto Rican freestyle wrestler and Olympic silver medalist who represents Puerto Rico.

Early years and education[edit]

Espinal is 178 cm (5 ft 10 in) tall and weights 84 kilograms (185 lb). He was born on October 14, 1984[1] in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic[2][3] to Jaime Espinal and Alejandrina Fajardo Hernández.[4] He has two siblings: Stanley and Rosemary.[5] When he was 5 years old, his family moved to Puerto Rico. Espinal studied at the Baptist College and then Gabriela Mistral High School. He also began wrestling when he was nine years old when coach Pedro Rojsa approached him and other kids and invited them to Club Sparta[6] in Río Piedras along with Franklin Gómez.[7][8]

When he was 15 years old, Espinal and his mother moved to Brooklyn, New York. Espinal says he had to deal with racism and fights "every two or three days". After someone drew a knife on him during a fight, he decided to return to Puerto Rico alone. Espinal quit wrestling and began cheerleading and dancing.[8] He reveived a scholarship in cheerleading from the University of Puerto Rico at Bayamón.[9] Espinal continued college at Walden University in Pennsylvania. He completed a Bachelor's degree in computer design.

Before his international wrestling career, Espinal spent three years as a breakdancer for the Time Machine Squad, entering the group after winning a contest.[9] In 2008, he went by the name of "Olimpic Jumps" as part of the group. During that time, he served as a backup dancer for hip hop artists like Daddy Yankee and Tego Calderón.[10] He also practiced baseball and worked as a model.[5] However, convinced by coach Rojas, Espinal returned to wrestling.[8]

Wrestling career[edit]

To prepare for the 2010 Central American and Caribbean Games, Rojas sent Espinal to train in Cuba for nine months.[8] As a result, Espinal won gold at the Central American and Caribbean Games in Mayagüez, Puerto Rico.[2]

In 2011, Espinal finished in fifth place[2] at the 2011 Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico. That same year, he won silver at the Pan American Wrestling Qualifying Tournament in Florida.

The next year, Espinal continued to excel in the sport finishing third at the Romanian International Tournament, and winning gold at the Città di Sassari Wrestling Championship in Italy. That year, at the 2012 Panamerican Wrestling Tournament in Kissimmee, Florida, Espinal qualified for the 2012 Summer Olympics.[4]

2012 Olympics[edit]

At the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, England, Espinal began the first rounds by defeating Nigerian Andrew Dick and Georgian Dato Marsagishvili. On the semi-finals, he defeated Soslan Gattsiev, from Belarus, to advance to the final round against Sharif Sharifov, from Azerbaijan. In the match, Sharifov defeated Espinal 3-1 to earn the gold. Espinal finished with the silver medal.[3] His medal was Puerto Rico's second silver in 17 Summer Olympics, and their second in London.[11] Espinal received a US$30,000 bonus from the Puerto Rico Olympic Committee for winning the silver medal.[12] Also, Puerto Rican dealership Bella International gave Espinal a 2012 Honda CR-V as a gift.[13]


  1. ^ London 2012 (2012). "Jaime Yusept Espinal". Retrieved 2012-08-13. 
  2. ^ a b c "Jaime Espinal, la lucha por abrir caminos al futuro de Puerto Rico". Terra (in Spanish). AFP. 2012-08-11. Retrieved 2012-08-12. 
  3. ^ a b "El luchador Jaime Espinal da una inédita e inesperada plata a Puerto Rico". Terra (in Spanish). AFP. 2012-08-11. Retrieved 2012-08-12. 
  4. ^ a b Sánchez Founier, José A. (2012-08-11). "Jaime Espinal está demostrando su valor en Londres". Primera Hora (in Spanish). Retrieved 2012-08-13. 
  5. ^ a b Rivas Reyes, Fernando (2012-08-12). "Llena de orgullo la madre de Jaime Espinal tras su gesta olímpica". Primera Hora (in Spanish). Retrieved 2012-08-13. 
  6. ^ Ayala, Hermes (2012-08-12). "Londres ’12: El luchador 'B-boy' que salió a buscar el oro". Noticel (in Spanish). Retrieved 2012-08-13. 
  7. ^ Ribas, Fernando (August 12, 2012). "Llena de orgullo la madre de Jaime Espinal tras su gesta olímpica". Primera Hora. 
  8. ^ a b c d Pagán, Estéban (August 22, 2012). "Jaime Espinal: Una vida de lucha". El Nuevo Día. Retrieved August 22, 2012. 
  9. ^ a b Rosa Rosa, Carlos (2012-08-13). "Jaime Espinal: “Nunca soñé que viviría un momento así”". Primera Hora (in Spanish) (London, United Kingdom). Retrieved 2012-08-13. 
  10. ^ "Antes de ser medallista olímpico era Olimpic Jumps". El Nuevo Día. August 11, 2012. Retrieved August 11, 2012. 
  11. ^ "Histórica medalla de plata en lucha". El Vocero. August 11, 2012. 
  12. ^ Rosa Rosa, Carlos (2012-08-13). "Atletas con medalla recibirán bono adicional". Primera Hora (in Spanish). Retrieved 2012-08-13. 
  13. ^ "Loco de contento Espinal con su carro". El Nuevo Día. August 17, 2012. 

External links[edit]