Tokyo Olympics

Family, Friends Root for Bay Area DACA Recipient Competing at Tokyo Olympics

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Luis Grijalva
Northern Arizona University

The men’s 5000m race took place early Friday morning.

One of the athletes that competed in the event was Luis Grijalva, 22, a DACA recipient from the Bay Area. He placed 12th in the finals.

While his dream of becoming a U.S. citizen has yet to be realized, the Fairfield native's dream of becoming an Olympian came true.

Before Friday's race, NBC Bay Area's Cheryl Hurd spoke with Grijalva’s former high school coach and friends about his Olympic dream coming true.

“Knowing Luis, I know he’s really nervous right now,” said Abdihamid Nur.

Abdihamid Nur should know. He’s a fellow long-distance runner and Grijalva’s college roommate at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, Arizona.

“I’m sure he’s proud of himself how far he’s got,” Nur said.

It was hard work, determination and talent helped make Grijalva’s Olympic dream come true.

Before he got to Tokyo, his status as a DACA recipient was a roadblock for him, but he got permission to leave the U.S. and compete as a Guatemalan citizen.

“So now that he’s going into his professional life where the majority of the best races are going to be in places like Monaco or Italy or places like that it’s something he’s been considering more, said Andres Rivera-Cruz, Grijalva’s friend.

Before Luis became an Olympian, he ran track at Armijo High School in Fairfield. One of his coaches told NBC Bay Area that he knew Grijalva was special when he first laid eyes on him.”

“He’s a dream. Did all the little things. Got his sleep, hydrated well. He ate well,” said Karl Wurzbach, Grijalva’s high school coach.

Getting to the Olympics was a long shot for Grijalva, now that he’s there. His best friends and coach are beyond excited saying he’s a winner in their hearts before he ran the final Olympic race.

“He’s not backing down for who he has to face he wants to be there, he wants to run against the best.”

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