Salma Hayek reveals why she was "haunted" by Olympics regrets

The Mexican-American actress had childhood sporting ambitions that were cut short by her father.

By ZK Goh

Did you know Mexican-American film star Salma Hayek was a talented gymnast as a child?

The Academy Award-nominated actress has revealed to OK! Magazine she dreamed of becoming an Olympian long before the movie industry came calling.

Hayek impressed with her skills in the gymnasium as a younger girl, but her father Sami prevented her from pursuing her sporting dreams.

"There was a road I didn't take, which haunted me for many years," Hayek said.

"When I was very little, I was drafted for the Olympics in gymnastics. my father refused to allow me to go to a boarding school at nine years old in another city where I was to be exercising six hours a day."

Mexico have never won an Olympic medal in the sport, and have achieved just two World Championships medals (most recently in 2018).

Salma Hayek (pictured here at the Berlinale International Film Festival 2020) was a talented gymnast as a child (Photo: Andreas Rentz/Getty Images)

Film career

Sami Hayek wanted a regular childhood for his daughter, which was the reasoning for his decision stopping his daughter's athletic career before it could even start.

"I resented my father," Salma Hayek admitted. "He said, 'I didn't want you not to have a childhood.'

"Now, I'm so glad I didn't take that road because I really like my life."

The 54-year-old, who has a 12-year-old daughter of her own now, has starred in various award-winning films, most notably as Mexican painter Frida Kahlo in Frida (2002) for which she was nominated for the Best Actress Oscar.

She is also a producer, co-producing Frida and serving as executive producer on global television hit series Ugly Betty.

Mexico in gymnastics

Mexico has not traditionally been a gymnastics powerhouse, a tag more often associated with the USA, Russia, China, and Japan (and historically Romania).

Only one woman, Alexa Moreno, has won a World Championships artistic gymnastics medal for the country.

Moreno won that medal, a bronze, on the vault at the 2018 Worlds.

Mexico's only other world championships medal was won on the men's pommel horse by Daniel Corral in 2013.