COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Preparation and dedication. That’s what led Richard Torrez Jr. to become an Olympic silver medalist.
“I mean, I’ve imagined myself saying it ever since I was a little kid, but to be able to actually say it is amazing," Torrez Jr. said.
By competing in the Tokyo Olympics, he fulfilled a three-generation dream. And on Sunday, the super heavyweight boxer earned a silver medal.
“Ever since I was little, I wanted to be just like my dad. The first time I ever saw him spar, I saw him drop a guy with a body shot and it was the coolest thing I ever saw," Torrez Jr. said.
His dad, Richard Torrez Sr., will be the first to tell you boxing is in the Torrez family blood.
“He didn’t get to finish that Olympic journey and I know that’s been a dream not just of mine but of his and my grandpa's. And to be able to be the one that does it, I’m just happy that I could bear that weight," Torrez Sr. said. “I fought for many years until I was 30. I went to the Olympic trials. I was ranked in two weight classes in the world. Every generation has had successful things and each generation has done a little better and he’s doing the ultimate for us which is the Olympics that we all wanted to go to and he gets to go for us all.”
The history for this central California family traces back to 1945 when Torrez Jr.’s grandfather paved the way with the Tulare Athletic Boxing Club.
“When he passed away, I took over the gym, and my son was very young and he uh, same thing I did, started coming to the gym, and I told my wife if he’s gonna box, he’s gotta box until he’s 16," Torrez Sr. said.
But it didn’t end there.
“I’ve been to 13 different countries. I’ve traveled the world. I got to meet new people," Torrez Jr. said. “It’s taught me about dedication, it’s taught me about post one gratification, it’s taught me about how you have to sacrifice things now for the benefit of the future, and my dad stood on the shoulders of my grandpa and I’m standing on the shoulders of my dad, so I got a pretty good view right now.”
And that view got even closer because, in 2020, the Olympic qualifiers were canceled.
“And man I was really nervous, I didn’t know what to do, I didn’t know what was going to happen next so I called my dad," Torrez Jr. said.
Richard Torrez Sr. put on one of his many hats and pushed his son to where he is now.
“My dad wears three hats, you know, he’s the coach hat, the dad hat, and the boss hat," Torrez Jr. said.
“It’s going to happen, don’t worry. It’s going to take a little time. It gives us another year to train, to hone our skills, it’s going to happen don’t worry," Torrez Sr. said.
Now, one year later, the 22-year-old can confidently say the wait was worth it.
“That’s a dream we’ve all had and that’s a dream that’s coming true," Torrez Jr. said.
He’s fulfilling the legacies of the boxers before him.
“Him being able to carry on tradition, it validates all the years of hard work," Torrez Sr. said. “Oh my gosh, if he was here, I’d have to push him out of the way to get to him. My dad would be right there with him. My dad had a habit, he’d wipe his mouth, yeah, we made it we did it.”
To many, this may look like a father and son journey, but it is so much more than that.
"I see how he acts inside and outside athletics, see what he does as a person, and I just really want to replicate myself to be just like him," Torrez Jr. said. “It’s the Torrez team it’s not just the two. Having a foundation like my family behind me is the best foundation I could ever have.”
It’s a chance to remind the world that he’s carrying on the Torrez name.