Rebecca Andrade says goodbye to Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games with the name written in the story. More than forty years after the first Brazilian gymnast debuted in an Olympics ―Cláudia Magalhães Costa, in the Olympic Games Moscow 1980―, the young athlete from Guarulhos, in Greater São Paulo, ends her participation with the best and most victorious campaign in artistic gymnastics Brazilian in the Olympics, even with fifth place in the final of the solo obtained this Monday morning to the sound of an orchestra slum dance (music that has not left the minds of Brazilians since the dispute of the Olympic final, on July 29th). Rebeca takes in her suitcase a silver in the general final of women’s artistic gymnastics and a gold in the heel.
Even before winning the unprecedented Olympic medals, the daughter of Dona Rosa Santos knew that she had already made history by arriving in Japan. The athlete suffered serious injuries before competing, underwent three knee surgeries and almost gave up on her career. But her love for the sport and the support she had from her family and coaches throughout the recovery process made her continue her determination to embark on the path to the Olympic podium. She certainly dreamed of the medal, but perhaps she couldn’t imagine the scale of the feat she would achieve on the other side of the world. “I think that even if I hadn’t won the medal, I would have made history, precisely because of my process to get here,” he said, after taking the silver. “Don’t give up, believe in your dream and stick to it. We will always have difficulties, but we have to be strong enough. I had wonderful people who helped me through this process, I hope you have amazing people to help you get to the top, just like I did.”
From the top of the podium, Rebeca Andrade extolled the role of the gymnasts who competed before her, such as Daiane dos Santos, 38, from Rio Grande do Sul, who was moved to tears when commenting, live on television, on the silver medal of the 22-year-old from São Paulo. Rebeca Andrade was only 5 years old when Daiane, world champion, qualified for an Olympic final, at Athens 2004. The girl from Rio Grande do Sul finished in 5th place, the best result in Brazil in artistic gymnastics so far. And that day he became a model for Rebecca and gymnasts around the world.
The Olympic champion began her career at the Guarulhos Sports Initiation Project, with training at the municipal gym Bonifácio Cardoso, in Greater São Paulo. He first stepped into a training center in 2005 ―a year after seeing Daiane shine at the Olympic Games in Greece. “For a long time they said that black people couldn’t do some sports, and today we see the first medal, from a black girl. There is a great representation behind all this”, highlighted Daiane, in a clear and emotional demonstration that the affection and admiration between the athletes is mutual.