Olympic triathlon athlete will be Festival de la Luz marshal

A.M. Costa Rica/Kayla Pearson
Leonardo Chacón Corrales, surrounded by students,
displays the trophy that signifies he will be parade marshal.

With the countdown to the Festival de la Luz at 25 days, the Municipalidad de San José has announced that Costa Rican triathlon athlete Leonardo Chacón Corrales will be the parade marshal.

Chacón will lead the parade Dec. 15.  The selection was announced by San José Mayor Johnny Araya Tuesday in a ceremony at Teatro Nacional.

The athlete, who lives in Cartago, began the triathlon sport at age 11, following in his father’s and older brother’s footsteps.  Since then he has had many achievements, his proudest being a 14th place finish in the Des Moines World Cup, according to his online biography.

The Costa Rican participated in the 2012 Olympic games in London, where he suffered a fall after his bike collided with that of Canadian Simon Whitfields who slipped ahead of him.

Chacón received a lot of notice after the race for reaching out to Whitfields on Facebook with a message that expressed the athletes admiration for the former silver medalist and a hope to race for a podium position in Brazil 2016.

In Araya’s presentation, the mayor called Chacón an example for all Costa Ricans, athletes and generations.

He also said the athlete has brought glory to the sports of Costa Rica with a strong career.

When accepting the honor, Chacón thanked all of Costa Rica for what he called a great moment and a dream.  He also challenged the third graders in the audience from Escuela Unificada República del Perú Vitalia Madrigal to fight through anything that may be difficult.

This is the 13th year Costa Rica has had a parade marshal.  Astronaut Franklin Chang Díaz, special olympic athletes, CNN en Español journalist Glenda Umaña, musical group Éditus and Olympian runner Nery Brenes Cárdenas have previously held the honorary position.

The Festival de la Luz begins Dec. 15 at 6 p.m. The parade travels from La Sabana park, up Paseo Colon and to Avenida 2 where it ends at the Plaza de la Democracia.  It will include at least 11 carrozas or floats and 14 bands, municipal officials said.

Before the event, the portal at Teatro Nacional will be available for viewing.  The life-size nativity scene will be inaugurated the evening of Dec. 1.

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