Teresa Perales’ life has been one of overcoming adversity, dedication and women’s empowerment. An incredible story which inspires others through her great achievements – she has won 26 Paralympics medals, making her Spain’s most successful swimmer. Thanks to her courage, ambition and endless struggle, our ambassador has won the Princess of Asturias Prize for Sport 2021. However, above all that, for this outstanding sportswoman her personal gold medal isn’t this success, but rather the support of her family as the essential part of her journey. She represents the spirit that Fundación Telefónica wishes to promote in society.
“Today is a very emotional moment for me. This is an extremely important award that comes at a very special time, in which all of us are living with the pandemic, with sportsmen and women preparing for the Olympic Games in Tokyo. We have had to adapt greatly as we seek to set an example of how move forward” said Perales on receiving the news that she had won the Princess of Asturias Prize for Sport 2021.
Her journey to this award has been an intense one which has been full of achievements. Not all of these have been in the water, although they have the idea of her constantly surpassing herself as the common characteristic, proving that barriers and disadvantages can be overcome as we strive to reach our goals. Here we show you some of her best moments as our ambassador:
The star of sonification
With #SinfoníaPerales, we turn the swimmer’s biorhythms into a musical composition: ‘The Teresa Perales Symphony – Anatomy of a swimmer’s stroke’. The process is known as sonification, a ground-breaking Spanish project launched by Fundación Telefónica. This was an experiment with an aesthetic goal, to create the Teresa Perales Symphony to accompany her journey toward Rio 2016, as well as having a scientific objective – “to investigate how the human ear can be a channel that transmits how brain waves work”, in the words of Pablo Palacio, the composer. We can therefore see not only how Teresa Perales swims, but also how she sounds as she moves through the water.
Teresa Perales in comic book form
Our ambassador has also been a star on the printed page – one of Spain’s finest Illustrators has told the amazing, colourful story of Spain’s greatest Paralympian – a book-tribute to the world of sport which gives visibility to Paralympians who face a daily fight to ensure they are recognised and have the same resources as other sportsmen and women.
The story of an exceptional woman
Teresa Perales’ journey represents an enormous experience from which we all can learn. For this reason, she now realises that she has connections that have made her incredible achievements possible and how she has achieved her goals – support, overcoming adversity and a positive spirit. All of these ingredients have radically changed, both in the water and outside it. “My family is like a chain in which every link fits perfectly with the next, making me that much stronger” she said. “My husband and my son connect me to all that is beautiful.” In Better Connected, we hear her story and the incredible things that we are capable of when we discover connections. Because all of us are better connected.
Teresa Perales in film
The swimmer, a Fundación Telefónica ambassador since 2015, also makes us laugh as the star of a short film entitled ‘Servicio Técnico’ (‘Technical Service’), directed by Javier Fesser. A new challenge for Teresa Perales, who shows us how she moves like a fish through water, out of the pool as well as in. In her debut as an actress, she was accompanied by the winners of a Goya film award for ‘La Isla Mínima’ (‘The Minimum Island’) – Javier Gutiérrez, César Maroto and Hugo Silva. Perales relives the presentation of the film in our Space.
“I now want to share this award with all disabled sportsmen and women, with all sportswomen who are mums and with everyone who has ever dreamt of something, of getting better day-by-day and never giving up.” This is how Teresa Perales celebrated her award and who she dedicated it to. Congratulations, champion!