OPINION :: The inconsistent powerhouse that is Puerto Rico

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The updated Big4 Ranking shows little movement for Puerto Rico despite being the winner of the Miss International 2014. Why is that so? To fully understand why Puerto Rico is stuck on 17th place (now tied with Mexico), one must understand first the essence of the ranking.

The Big4 Ranking shows the historical strength of a nation. The ranking is not like the FIFA ranking where every decade, the dynamics change so as to reflect the current status of every nation in the world of soccer. So, despite the many winnings of say Brazil in the early 60s, such victories will no longer be reflected in the current rankings.

Now, Big4 Ranking does not subscribe to this kind of system. Why so? First, soccer matches between nations happen all the time. That means every year, a country like Brazil can play a FIFA-sanctioned match against any nation more than once or even up to four games (now with limits on how many games can be accredited in an annual basis). Pageants on the other hand, are not merely a competition between a single country to another country. Rather, they are competitions composed of many nations and are held only once a year.

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The victory of Valerie Hernandez in Miss International 2014 means that the attention of the world is now on Boricua beauties. Photo by Stephen Diaz/Missosology

As such, the inherent weakness of Puerto Rico across the 4 major pageants of the world in the early days of pageantry plus its inconsistent ranking (winning a crown for a year then drought for the next few years) is taking a toll. The way Puerto Rico is ranked is reflected in the real world. For example, the commonwealth was not expected to perform well this year. The basis for that assumption is that Puerto Rico languished for quite a while before making a spectacular comeback this year.

In short the 17th position of Puerto Rico shared with Mexico reflects its inability to sustain its victories and that its contestants are not consistent. No one knows when will Puerto Rico strike and that makes it a dangerous country to compete with. One can call Puerto Rico an Inconsistent Powerhouse of Beauty.

Consider this – The fairly good performance of Puerto Rico (with one Miss World crown) from 2002-2012 with two 2nd princess finish of Ingrid Rivera and Amanda Vilanova had a precedent of a 1989-2001 total drought. At Miss Universe, Puerto Rico was a clapper from 1952 until Marisol Malaret surprisingly took the coveted crown in 1970. Plus the victories of 2001 and 2006 were all followed by 2 successive clapper years. At Miss Earth, Puerto Rico had been struggling and at Miss International, the victory of Valerie Hernandez happened after decades of heartaches and struggle for the second crown.

So what are the prospects of Puerto Rico this year? Well, pretty much golden. The victory of Valerie means that the attention of the world is now on Boricua beauties. Currently, Franceska Toro is one of the top favorites at Miss Earth and she is indeed a top quality delegate. She could, at the very least, be one of the Top 8 but she could easily be the first Puerto Rican Miss Earth. If it will happen, Puerto Rico will join an elite group currently composed of four nations that won all of the Big4 Pageants.

At Miss World, Genesis Davila is one of the front-runners thanks to her elegant disposition and an aura full of class. Although winning the second crown could be extremely difficult thanks to a bevy of strong competitors, she could do some Valerie magic and simply stun the front-runners.

Come 2015, Gabriela Berrios will be tackling the task of winning another crown for the Enchanted Island. She is being heavily criticized but she can surprise us all. Her beauty is still something that pageant watchers should watch out for.

Indeed, critics who wish to write-off Puerto Rico will be disappointed. The nation may be inconsistent but it is a powerhouse. So when one has a proclivity to dismiss the Boricua beauties, resist it. Puerto Rico can surprise, stun and disappoint even the strongest of the front-runners. It has not lost it touch in the world of pageantry and this year proves to be one of the turning points for the nation.

 

Graphics by Yamil Aponte