KGUN 9News


Quintero to make Olympic dream come true

Posted at 9:15 PM, Apr 20, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-21 00:17:28-04
"It was a very exciting moment. It's what I've wanted since I was a little kid."
Rafael Quintero always knew he wanted to compete in the Olympics.  His father believed it would be in gymnastics.
The Puerto Rican remembers a day before gym practice, "I crossed the street to go to the pool and I saw all these guys diving and doing all these cool flips."
The wide-eyed young boy soon fell in love with diving and had to convince his father to let him switch sports.
"I think he had started the year before and he wasn't that great, but you could tell the talent was strong, he was fast, flexible," University of Arizona coach Omar Ojeda remembers from watching Rafael for the first time. 
At 21-years old, Rafael completed his goal by qualifying for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio at the World Championships in February.
"It really feels incredible," he says.
Quintero not only punched his ticket to the Olympics, but became the first Puerto Rican diver in history to qualify.
"You want to look good, you want to make the sport look good as well for Puerto Rico, so it's a little bit of pressure but I'm happy about it," Quintero adds.