Ruben Limardo Gascon became a national hero in Venezuela after winning a gold medal in fencing at the 2012 London Olympics.
But in Poland, where he has lived for years, he has taken up delivering food for Uber Eats to support his family as he trains for the Olympics in Tokyo next year.
Every day after training, he jumps on his bike and crisscrosses the city of Lodz, where he lives with his wife and two children, delivering food to people’s doorsteps.
Given the precarious global economic climate, Limardo is grateful to have a job, particularly one that gives him time for training.
“There is no sponsorship now because there is no competition, but I still have to generate some resources to support my family,” Limardo told the Associated Press.
The 35-year-old athlete responds to orders that ping on his phone up to 12 times a day. On his phone he also has photos of himself in competition and on top of the Olympic podium. He is training with his mind set on winning more Olympic medals in Tokyo and beyond “for myself and for Venezuela.”
‘’I don’t want to leave the sport because I still have a dream,’’ Limardo said.
With a mask covering his face these days, fans of fencing have little chance of recognising the Olympic gold medalist.
But some know about him and ask for selfies and take the opportunity to chat with the native of Ciudad Bolivar.
Limardo moved to Poland, which has a long tradition in fencing, some 20 years ago as a teenager to train on the épée, the heaviest of modern fencing weapons. He won gold in individual epee at the 2007 Pan American Games and at the 2006 and 2008 championships in Poland.
His gold medal from London is the second Olympic win ever for a Venezuelan, making him a celebrity in his native land.
He competed in the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in the individual and team épée competitions, but failed to secure any medals.