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Concha Velasco, the very first AS girl

Concha Velasco, the very first AS girl

On Tuesday we welcomed Doña Concha Velasco - the actress that my generation still refers to as Conchita Velasco – here at AS. We know her as ‘the Red Cross girl’ from the 1958 film that was a masterpiece of its time. For us, Velasco’s visit was the final event of our 50th anniversary celebrations. She was the very first ‘AS girl’. In the first edition of the newspaper, on December 6, 1967, Velasco appeared on the penultimate page, leaping in to the air in front of the Royal Palace. J. Torremocha snapped that spectacular photo. 50 years have since passed. Yet the friendship between Doña Concha and AS remains through that souvenir image.

Velasco a pioneer for art and sport

Concha Velasco was a pioneer. Born in Valladolid, the son of a soldier who was posted to Morocco, she soon realised that she wanted to be an artist. Her first vocation, which she has not turned her back on, was ballet. She broke barriers in her time, protected by her mother. Her strict father was eventually convinced and ended up as a devotee of her art. Velasco was a celebrated actress by the time AS went to print. At the request of Juan Antonio Samaranch, who would go on to become the minister of sports, she was the face of the ‘contamos contigo’ (‘we’re counting on you’) campaign in the 1960s, which encouraged people to take part in sport. Because of that AS chose her for the first edition of the paper, as an embrace between women and sport.

Her tradition lives on

Every AS girl over the years has come from that. For a while, we justified pictures of the female body with that brilliant pose from Velasco, which shone with health and physique. As time passed that idea went off track. It became just pictures of the female body. Nothing more. It was a loss of focus. That must be admitted. In 2018 there is still an AS girl every day, preserving the tradition that started with Conchita Velasco, whose leap espoused the benefits of sport. We are back where we began, after many years in which we did not do what we should have done. In 2018 there is still an AS girl every day, but in a way that is consistent with the first pioneer: Concha Velasco.