This Thursday, June 23, the Day of the Olympic Athlete is celebrated, in honor of the creation of the International Olympic Committee, which took place on this day in 1894. To commemorate the date, six Brazilians spoke about what it means to be an Olympic athlete: the gymnast Rebeca Andrade, swimmers Ana Marcela Cunha and Etiene Medeiros, judoka Rafael Silva, gymnast Arthur Nory and table tennis player Bruna Takahashi.
“Being a woman in Olympic sport is something that brings me a lot of happiness and pride. What made me an Olympic athlete, in fact, was stepping inside an Olympic gymnasium for the first time in 2016, at the Rio Olympics. Greater pride, a dream come true, something I wanted very much since I was young. And not just me, but also my coach and my coach at the time, Kelly and Chico”, said Rebeca, gold in the vault and silver in the all-around at the Tokyo Olympics.
“With the Olympics, I entered several people’s homes on television. People were enchanted by me, inspired by me. We have a very large reach and that to me is incredible. I hope we find more and more women in the sport. I’ll always be really rooting for it, because it’s amazing. Being part of a women’s team, understanding our strength, wanting to reach the same goal, helping each other, encouraging each other… it’s something we have to share with everyone. I also hope to go to Paris, we are in the fight. I’m going to train a lot, to see if I can feel that emotion one more time”, he added.
Ana Marcela Cunha, gold in open water swimming in Japan, summed up the feeling of being an Olympic athlete: “It is the realization of a dream, the certainty of having reached the highest level of global competitiveness through my efforts, in a joint effort of team, achieving high performance results”.
“I believe that my results, posture, behavior, attitudes, fair play and other attributes that I try to exercise and deliver serve as a mirror for other people,” he added.
First Brazilian swimming world champion, Etiene Medeiros believes that being an Olympic athlete is, in a way, “being special”.
“I went in search of my dreams, with a lot of work, a lot of training, a lot of support network. Being there with your sports values, fighting with sweat, claw and gratitude. For me, it’s a dream come true. Sharing this with my family is really nice,” she declared.
Bronze at the London (2012) and Rio de Janeiro (2016) Games, Rafael Silva described his evolution as an Olympic athlete: “The first thing was the realization of a dream, which started when I started to practice sports. Then I came to believe that it might be possible to be an Olympic athlete.”
“From then on, I believed a lot in the possibility of bringing an Olympic medal to my country, and today being an Olympic athlete means being an ambassador for sport and judo, being able to increasingly demonstrate to people that the values of sport are important. ”, added Raphael.
Gymnast Arthur Nory, for his part, believes that the Olympic athlete “brings far greater things than you can dream of”.
“It teaches you to be resilient, overcome your limits and go after what you dream of. Showing how difficult this journey is and what our determination is to overcome it serves as an inspiration for future generations,” she explained.
Finally, table tennis player Bruna Takahashi understands that being an Olympic athlete means having “the recognition that all your effort and dedication paid off. It is the maximum level of a high-performance athlete”.
“By passing on to people all our dedication to training and competitions, they may not make everyone reach high performance, but they will give them quality of life and health”, concludes the 17th place in the world ranking.