Lassen College graduate trains for 2016 Summer Olympics
|Yasir Alvarez speaks at the Lassen Community College graduation ceremony Friday, May 23. In August, Alvarez will begin training at the U.S. Olympic Center in Colorado Springs, Co., to compete in the 2016 Summer Olympics in judo. Photo by Makenzie Davis
June 4 — Yasir Alvarez just graduated from Lassen Community College with a degree in social science and is on his way to train at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Co. in Judo, but just a few years ago he didn’t speak a word of English, and just a few months ago he wasn’t even a U.S. citizen.
Alvarez’s is a true Cinderella story. He and his family moved to the U.S. from Cuba, and three years ago the young Judo pro was recruited by Lassen Community College assistant wrestling coach Tom Rodgers.
Lassen College’s head wrestling coach, Francis Beaujon, recalls Alvarez’s first day at the Lassen College dorms when he didn’t speak any English and everything had to be translated for him.
Alvarez says he initially came to Lassen College to be a part of the wrestling team, but decided to stay for two years and earn his associates degree in social science.
“I wanted to get my degree and keep going to continue my dream. (Rogers) just called me and brought me here to wrestle. I wrestled for two years, then just kept going for school,” Alvarez said.