Rebeca Andrade Becomes Brazil’s First-Ever Female Olympic Medalist in Gymnastics at the Tokyo Games

2020 Tokyo Games

Rebeca Andrade may have come short of the gold, but she’s still earned her place in Olympic history…

The 22-year-old Brazilian gymnast claimed the silver medal in the women’s gymnastics all-around competition at the 2020 Tokyo Games, becoming the first female Brazilian gymnast in Olympic history to stand on the podium.

Rebeca Andrade

“I am super happy,” Andrade said. “I hoped for this moment, and I have trained and worked super hard for this moment. I don’t have any words to describe how I am feeling, nor the feeling of having the Olympic silver medal around my neck.”

Andrade had been in medal competition the entire night at the Ariake Gymnastics Centre, and battled with eventual champion Sunisa Lee and bronze medalist Angelina Melnikova for the top spot on the leaderboard. It was hard to imagine that Andrade’s status for the Olympics had once been in doubt.

Rebeca Andrade

Andrade tore her anterior cruciate ligament for the third time in her career at the Brazilian Championships in 2019. She was sidelined for the remainder of the season, including the world championships, as she underwent surgery and rehabbed the injury — again. The injury was tough — and the emotional toll was even harder.

In her absence, the Brazilian team failed to qualify for the Olympics, and she needed to clinch a spot as an individual. She went to Baku, Azerbaijan, for her first meet back after injury in March 2020 for a World Cup event. During qualifying, she finished in second place on beam and in third place on bars, advancing to the event finals on both. But, like so many global sporting events during that month, the meet was canceled before any of the finals could get underway. Her comeback was paused yet again, and this time, indefinitely.

Rebeca Andrade

As Brazil was hit particularly hard by the coronavirus, many gyms were closed and training became inconsistent. She joined a delegation of 112 Brazilian athletes in Portugal in order to ensure she could continue preparing to qualify to the Olympics.

Then, in December 2020, she tested positive for the coronavirus. She was asymptomatic but had to withdraw from a competition and temporarily stop training while isolating.

Rebeca Andrade

Through it all, she worked with a sports psychologist who helped her stay focused on her long-term goal of going back to the Olympics. With limited events in 2021 and few opportunities to earn a spot for the Games, Andrade wasn’t even sure in early June whether she would secure a berth to Tokyo.

Her last shot was at the Pan American Championships in which the top two finishers would earn two of the final spots.

She won the all-around by more than four points.

Without her teammates by her side, Andrade qualified to the all-around final in second place, behind only Simone Biles. On Thursday, she showed no signs of slowing down as she took early control of the competition with an impressive Cheng vault — earning a 15.300, tied for the highest score on any event of the night.

She had a chance to clinch the gold medal on floor, her final event of the night. Despite having a higher degree of difficulty than Lee, Andrade stepped out of bounds twice and finished 0.135 overall behind Lee.

Still, the color of the medal didn’t seem to matter.

“I wanted to shine in the best way possible,” she said. “And I think I shined.”

After the medal ceremony, she posed for selfies and goofed around with Lee and Melnikova. None of them had arrived in Japan feeling the gold medal was in reach with Biles in the competition, and they all seemed surprised they had even had a chance in the end following Biles’ withdrawal.

“Simone is incredible, and knowing how she had to leave the competition was very difficult,” Andrade said. “People need to understand that we are not robots. We are human beings, and we have feelings like anyone else. That’s the same with me. … We feel the pressure. But I tried to keep my cool. I tried to put into practice everything that I trained with my psychologist, and it worked. I did all that I could, and I couldn’t be happier with my performance.”

After so many challenges on the path to the podium in Tokyo, Andrade knew she didn’t get to the end result on her own. She credited all those who have been in her corner, every step of the way, for helping her achieve her dream.

“This medal is not just mine, it’s one for everyone that knows my story, everything I have been through,” Andrade said. “There have been so many people that helped me along the way. I am very grateful for having them around. I wouldn’t have achieved this without them.”

Brazil’s Mayra Aguiar Claims Third Consecutive Olympic Bronze at the 2020 Tokyo Games

2020 Tokyo Games

It’s a threepeat of sorts for Mayra Aguiar

The 29-year-old Brazilian judoka earned her third consecutive Olympic bronze medal at the 2020 Tokyo Games.

Mayra Aguiar

Aguiar defeated South Korea’s Yoon Hyun-ji in the Women’s 78kg in the Bronze Medal B match.

Considered one of the most talented Brazilian judokas in history, Aguiar is competing in her fourth Summer Olympics.

Mayra Aguiar

She lost her only match at the 2008 Beijing Games, but then claimed the bronze medal at the 2012 London Games and 2016 Rio Games.

Anissa Urtez Named to Olympic Softball All-Tournament Team at Tokyo Games

2020 Tokyo Games

Anissa Urtez is an Olympic all-star…

The 26-year-old Mexican American softball player, representing Mexico at the 2020 Tokyo Games, has been named to the Olympic softball all-tournament team.

Anissa Urtez

Urtez was picked as the all-tournament shortstop.

During the fifth inning in Mexico’s game against Japan on Thursday, July 22, Urtez sent Japanese legend Yukiko Ueno’s pitch over the fence for a home run.

It was the first home run in the Olympic Games by a player from the Mexican National Team.

while her real-life fiancée Amanda Chidester of the United States was picked as the designated player.

Urtez’s Mexican teammate Suzy Brookshire was picked as the right fielder.

Yamato Fujita of Japan was named most valuable player of the tournament. She hit .389 with three homers and seven RBI in six games for Japan, which beat the U.S. 2-0 on Tuesday for its second straight title.

Four Americans were selected for the all-tournament team, with Chidester joined by left-hander Monica Abbott, second baseman Ali Aguilar and centerfielder Haylie McCleney.

The team also included right-hander Yukiko Ueno and third baseman Yu Yamamoto of Japan and catcher Kaleigh Rafter and first baseman Jenn Salling of Canada.

Also selected were Italian left fielder Laura Vigna and Japanese first baseman Minori Naito, who was picked as the best defensive player.

The team was picked by the World Baseball Softball Confederation and the Tokyo Olympic organizing committee.

Marcos Moneta Helps Lead Argentina to Its First Medal at the Tokyo Games

2020 Tokyo Games

Marcos Moneta will be returning home a hero…

The 21-year-old Argentine rugby sevens player helped lead his Argentina rugby seven team to the bronze medal at the 2020 Tokyo Games, after a shocking 17-12 win over Great Britain.

Marcos Moneta

Moneta, who was making his Olympic debut at this year’s Summer Olympics, helped give Argentina is first medal of the games.

Argentina earned the win after tries from Lautaro Bazan Velez, the Games’ overall top try scorer Moneta, and Ignacio Mendy.

It’s a monumental achievement for former sevens star-turned-coach Santiago Gomez Cora, who crashed out in the quarters in Brazil as a player.

It’s also the first ever Olympic medal for Argentina in rugby sevens.

Moneta scored six tries in his country’s successful Tokyo 2020 campaign including a sparkling effort against Great Britain in the bronze medal match to spark wild scenes amongst the jubilant Argentina delegation.

Moneta knows what this historic result will mean for the sport in his homeland.

“After football I think rugby is our top sport in Argentina, it’s a passionate sport, we have a professional rugby league, we have lots of children playing the game now.

“This bronze medal is for all the children who are playing the game in Argentina and all the fans who love rugby around the world.”

Argentina’s star man said it was team spirit which spurred the Pumas on to beat Great Britain to win bronze.

“I think the key to our victory was the team, our mentality, our spirit. The team was so united, we showed what we can achieve when we can play together.

“Our country is very passionate, we love rugby, football, tennis and many sports. It’s a pleasure to represent Argentina, when we put this jersey on we know we are representing our family, our friends, our clubs, our people and it’s the highest honor.

“Everyone got up at 5.30am to watch our medal match, I think our fans and our country will be euphoric and they won’t sleep for a while.”

Moneta also spoke about how difficult it was to prepare during the pandemic to play against the sport’s leading sevens nations.

“Preparation for the tournament was difficult, at times we could only train at our homes and we were doing sessions together on Zoom and Skype.

“Luckily we could play some tournaments before the Games like the Madrid sevens. Our minds were focused on the Olympics, that was our main objective to get onto the podium.”

Julio Mayora Gives Venezuela its First Medal of the 2020 Tokyo Games

2020 Tokyo GamesJulio Mayora is the silver bullet…

The 24-year-old Venezuelan weightlifter has put his country on the medal count board after earning the silver medal at the 2020 Tokyo Games in the Men’s 73kg weightlifting competition.

Julio Mayora

Julio Mayora

It’s Mayora’s first-ever Olympic medal and Venezuela’s first medal at the 2020 Olympics.

Mayora, who celebrated his silver medal with a mortal, after coming in second having lifted 346kg total.

Julio Mayora

Before participating in the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Julio Mayora took part in the 2018 World Weightlifting Championships Men’s 67kg, winning a bronze medal with a 322 kg total.

Mayora’s passion for the sport of halterofilia is evident on his Instagram feed and the day he found out he’s going to Tokyo for the Olympics 2020, he shared an emotional post.

Julio Mayora“One of the biggest dreams of an athlete is to attend Olympic Games, in the morning I received such news, I feel grateful for representing Venezuela,” Mayora wrote in Spanish, and today he has become an icon for his country.

Ricardo Pepi Agrees to Five-Year Contract Extension with FC Dallas

Ricardo Pepi isn’t going anywhere…

FC Dallas has locked up the emerging 18-year-old star forward with a five-year contract extension.

Ricardo Pepi

Pepi, who has been linked with a move to Serie A‘s Bologna, has eight goals in 14 appearances (nine starts) this season.

“I’m very happy to give my everything to FC Dallas,” Pepi said in a statement. “I want to thank the club for having that trust in me. It’s a big step in my career, personally and for my family.”

Pepi scored three goals in a 4-0 win over the LA Galaxy on Saturday to become the youngest player in MLS history (18 years, 196 days) to score a hat trick.

The El Paso native is in his third season with FC Dallas. He has 10 goals and one assists in 38 MLS appearances (13 starts).

Rafael Alba Wins Cuba’s First Medal at the Tokyo Games

2020 Tokyo Games

Rafael Alba has put Cuba on the board…

The 27-year-old Cuban taekwondo athlete won his men’s +80kg bronze medal taekwondo match 5-4 against Japan’s Sun Hongyi to claim Cuba’s first medal of the 2020 Tokyo Games.

Rafael Alba

The two-time world taekwondo champion won the medal, one of the two bronze medals awarded in the sport, in a match that took place on the tatami installed at the Makuhari Messe Convention Center in Chiba, to the east of the capital.

Rafael Alba

It was Alba’s second appearance at the Olympics. He previously competed at the 2016 Rio Games.

Mexico’s Gabriela Agúndez & Alejandra Orozco Claim Synchronized Diving Bronze at Tokyo Games

2020 Tokyo Games

Gabriela Agúndez and Alejandra Orozco

The 20-year-old Mexican diver and her 24-year-old diving partner have claimed Mexico’s second bronze medal of the 2020 Tokyo Games.

Gabriela Agúndez & Alejandra OrozcoAgundez and Orozco placed third in the women’s synchronized 10-meter platform diving event at the Olympics.

Agundez and Orozco finished with 299.70 points, .54 points ahead of the Canadian team.

Gabriela Agúndez & Alejandra OrozcoIt’s Agundez’s first Olympic medal and Orozco’s second. She previously won a silver medal alongside teammate Paola Espinosa in the same event at the 2012 Olympic Games.

Spain’s Maialen Chourraut Completes Olympic Medal Set with Canoeing Silver at Tokyo Games

2020 Tokyo Games

Maialen Chourraut couldn’t pull off a repeat, but she’s still shining bright…

The 38-year-old Spanish slalom canoeist, who won the gold medal in the K1 event at the 2016 Rio Games, had to settle for silver after the women’s slalom K-1 canoeing event at the 2020 Tokyo Games.

Maialen Chourraut

It was Chourraut’s fourth Olympic appearance, having also won bronze at the 2012 London Games.

With this silver, Chourraut, Spain’s oldest competitor at the Tokyo Games this year, has completed her gold-silver-bronze set of Olympic medals.

Along with the silver medal in canoeing, Spain has also claimed another silver medal in Taekwondo, as well as a bronze medal in men’s cycling.

Brazil’s Italo Ferreira Claims First-Ever Surfing Gold at Tokyo Games

2020 Tokyo Games

Italo Ferreira has earned his place in Olympic history…

The 27-year-old Brazilian professional surfer overcame challenging conditions in brilliant style to win historic first Olympic surfing gold medals at the 2020 Tokyo Games on Tuesday.

Italo Ferreira

Competing at Tsurigasaki Surfing Beach, Ferreira recovered from breaking his board on the first wave to beat Japan’s Kanoa Igarashi in the shortboard final.

Australia’s Owen Wright took the men’s bronze after a tense 35-minute battle with world number one Gabriel Medina, edging out the Brazilian by two-tenths of a point.

The final day of competition started with big, clean waves that delighted the competitors, but a strong onshore breeze picked up to make the swell choppier and more inconsistent with good waves harder to come by.

Italo Ferreira

It made no difference to Ferreira as he went on the attack in pursuit of Olympic gold.

Knowing he had done enough to win, Ferreira began surfing his way in to the shore with a minute to go, greeting the final horn with his arms stretched to the heavens before being carried shoulder-high from the water by his teammates.

“I think it’s one of the best days of my life, for sure. For me that was a long day and it was a dream come true, for sure. The last couple of months I’ve been training a lot, just to live in this moment,” an emotional Ferreira told reporters.

He also gave Ferreira the first gold for Brazil at the Tokyo Games.