August 9, 2012

Gabriela Barrantes is 21 years old, attends the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, and is trying to learn everything there is to know about photography. She currently works as a photojournalist for Al Día News. She’s a Peruvian from Doylestown, Pa., but is a city girl at heart.

What’s your earliest Olympic memory?

The 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. I remember being in grade school watching it with my dad as we compared which events we enjoyed the most. It’s one of the fondest memories I have with him.

How excited do you get about the Summer Games: Eager? Hyperventilating? Meh?

The Summer Olympics are very exciting for me. I don’t like the cold that much, so watching the sports I used to enjoy or still enjoy is exhilarating and gets me more involved when watching.

Which events that you particularly enjoy watching? (Or, if you don’t like the Olympics, what do you do instead in August?)

I used to be a competitive tennis player and instructor, so when it came to the Summer Olympics that’s the event I really looked forward to. The bad thing is that this year my favorite player, Rafael Nadal of Spain, had to stay home because of an injury.

Are there any sports you watch only during the Olympics?

Definitely I watch the tennis, and I love to watch gymnastics. The flexibility and contortions that they are able to do with their bodies absolutely blows my mind!

If you ran the International Olympic Committee, what sport would you add/get rid of? What rule would you change?

I think Ultimate Frisbee would be a good event to add—I know it would be entertaining to watch! I would probably get rid of the equestrian events, I’m just not a big fan of horses …

What do you think of NBC’s Olympic coverage? Or do you watch the Olympics in Spanish?

I think NBC does a great job covering the Olympics. They keep it enjoyable. But I’m not quite sure if they broadcast them in Spanish. I would love to watch that!

What athletes will you be rooting for?

Ryan Lochte in swimming. Maria Sharapova of Russia and Novak Djokovic of Serbia because they are two of my favorite tennis players.

Other than the United States, which countries do you root for?

Well, of course Peru, and Spain as well.

Overall, are the Olympics a good thing, or a waste of time and money? An instrument of peace or of nationalist zeal?

I think they’re a good thing. It’s one of the few moments that we can all get together and enjoy our favorite sporting events. I wish we had more events of this sort—I feel like nowadays everything revolves around conflict and disagreement.

If you could have a ticket to one Olympic event in London, what would it be?

I would have to say gymnastics. Why? Do I win one for answering these questions?

“Olympic Talk with Gabriela Barrantes,” by Bill Vourvoulias.

From “We Are Family,” the August 9, 2012, issue of V as in Victor.

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