On Thursday, October 9, Olympic cross country hopefuls Edwardo and Jorge Torres of Wheeling joined Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month.
Quinn issued a declaration honoring them as “courageous Illinoisans who set new standards of sibling success” and “role models for Hispanic American youths and aspiring Olympic hopefuls everywhere.”
“All of Illinois can be proud of these hardworking twins who overcame incredible odds to attain unimaginable peaks in their profession,” Quinn said.
Sons of Mexican immigrants, the Torres brothers grew up in Chicago, but moved to Wheeling and attended Wheeling High School. Despite their slight build, they won individual titles in their sophomore and junior years, and then led Wheeling High to the state championship as seniors.
They were recruited by the University of Colorado for its nationally-ranked cross country squad and began training in nearby mountains to build stamina. Soon, they scored Big 12 and NCAA victories - both were All-Americans and Jorge won the NCAA national championship - and are now training for the Athens Olympics. Recently, Jorge ran the fastest 5,000-meter time in the United States this year, and Edwardo represented the U.S. in the World Cross Country Championships in April.
Quinn - whose two sons are both track runners - described the character and grit required for success as a long-distance racer.
“Doing lonely pre-dawn runs, ignoring aches and pains, and willing to keep focus are traits found in successful long-distance racers,” Quinn said. “These qualities so evident in the grueling training regimen of the Torres twins will help them climb higher mountains later in their lives and make them role models for young Hispanic Americans and runners everywhere.”
To celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, Quinn recently saluted “Everyday People Doing Extraordinary Things,” including baseball great Minnie Minoso.
“We’re honoring everyday people who rose to challenges and made a difference,” Quinn said. “Not only are we proud of Jorge and Edwardo Torres, but we thank their parents – Maria and Jose Torres – who instilled in them values of hard work and determination.”
The 23-year old twins are visiting their hometown Chicago for guest appearances at this Sunday’s LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathon.