Venezuelan Canadian Society of BC

Bryan Leon: Sports and Immigration

By Valentina Ruiz Leotaud / Translation by Erika Sanabria M.

Just like any other teenager who’s passionate about their hobby, Bryan Leon is almost always talking about speed skating. His words however, are also a metaphor of something many of us experienced when we emigrated.

“The most valuable thing I’ve learned from this sport is perseverance, but I have also found that the worst defeat is when a person loses their enthusiasm. You only lose when you stop fighting” says the 16 year old.

Born in Tachira, Venezuela, Leon started practicing speed skating on 2010. He’s currently part of the Haida Club in Burnaby, based at the Kensington Ice Rink in the same city.

He’s been part of several competitions (and won some of them, too) through the Haida Club, including the Winter Games of British Columbia in 2014 and 2016, the Canada West Championship and many other competitions throughout the Lower Mainland.

One of his proudest moments so far, has been to stand in the podium at the 2016 provincial winter games that took place in Kelowna. His victory made it to the local newspapers.

Proud of his achievements, Bryan claims that anyone can reach their goals, as long as they are enthusiastic and dedicated.

“I recommended to anyone who’d like to succeed at speed skating to have discipline and a burning desire to achieve their goals. It isn’t falling on the ice what makes you fail, but the unwillingness to get up and try again” he says.

Moving to canada impacted this young man in a “subtle but deep way”. Even though he’s only in junior year, he speaks as a mature young man who has experience many things by moving and adapting to different cultures.

Beyond defending the “echar pa’ lante” (keep moving forward), regardless of the circumstances, Bryan has also learned the value of the opportunities that life gives him. “Living in Canada has made me more generous, more humble, more thankful” he says.

If you wish to contact Bryan to learn more about speed skating, or his optimism, you can contact his dad Hjalmar Leon at hnleon@gmail.com

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