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.

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.

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.

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.

Brazil’s Fernando Scheffer Breaks South American Record in Men’s 200m Freestyle at Tokyo Games

2020 Tokyo Games

Fernando Scheffer is proving his medal

The 23-year-old Brazilian swimmer, competing in his first Olympics, claimed the bronze medal in the men’s 200m freestyle swimming event at the 2020 Tokyo Games.

Fernando Scheffer

Scheffer broke the South American record in the event’s heats, with a time of 1:45.05, ranking 2nd for the semifinal.

After qualifying with the last place in the semifinals, Scheffer outperformed himself again in the final, beating his South American record again by a wide margin, with a time of 1:44.66, to claim the bronze.

Fernando Scheffer

In doing so, Scheffer repeated the feat of Gustavo Borges, the last Brazilian to obtain an Olympic medal in the event.

Scheffer lowered the South American record by nearly 1 second at the Olympics to win the medal.

Brazil’s Rayssa Leal Claims Silver Medal at Tokyo Games

2020 Tokyo Games

Rayssa Leal is livin’ a teenage dream…

The 13-year-old skateboarder, known as “A Fadinha do Skate“, which translates roughly to “The Skate Fairy,” has skated her way onto the medal stand at the 2020 Tokyo Games after the women’s street skateboarding competition.

Rayssa Leal

Leal was thisclose to taking home the gold medal before Japan’s Momiji Nishiya used her final trick to leapfrog Leal with a score of 15.26. Leal finished with a score of 14.64, just behind Nishiya, earning her the silver medal.

They both were nearly the youngest medalists in Olympic history. Denmark’s Inge Sorensen was 12 years and 24 days old when he earned a bronze medal in the 200-meter breaststroke in the 1936 Olympics.

Each competitor had two 45-second runs and five individual tricks in which judges had an opportunity to grade. However, Nishiya was the only competitor that was able to land her final trick in the event.

“I’m very happy to make this dream come true,” Leal said following the event. “It’s a dream for my parents and it’s a dream for me to be here at the Olympics. It’s fantastic to represent Brazil and get this medal. I had great fun.”

Leal introduced herself to the skateboarding world in 2015, when, while wearing a fairytale princess costume, the then 8-year-old went viral for her skating prowess. Even skating legend Tony Hawk tweeted about her back then:

Six years later, Leal is an Olympic silver medalist.

Daniel Cargnin Claims Judo Bronze at Tokyo Games

2020 Tokyo Games

Daniel Cargnin has bounced back to claim some Olympic hardware…

After losing to Japan’s Hifumi Abe in the semifinals, the Brazilian judoka returned to the mat to win his bronze medal match against Israel’s Baruch Shmailov in the 66kg category at the 2020 Tokyo Games.

Daniel Cargnin

The fight was very tense, with Cargnin needing to be seen by doctors after suffering a cut after an opponent’s entry. But he managed to confirm the medal with a wasari

It’s the second medal for Brazil at the Olympics, following Kelvin Hoefler silver in the street category of skateboarding.

 

Luis Mosquera Claims Silver in Men’s Weightlifting, Giving Colombia First Tokyo Games Medal

2020 Tokyo Games

Luis Mosquera has given Colombia its first medal…

The 26-year-old Colombian weightlifter had to settle for the silver medal in the men’s 67 kilos category at the 2020 Tokyo Games after being denied the gold by China’s Chen Lijun.

Luis Mosquera

Mosquera was surpassed by Chen, the world record holder in the category, his last attempt at the competition.

After lifting 151 kg in the snatch, six more than his Chinese competitor (4th with 145), Mosquera thought that he had secured the gold by lifting 180 kg in the third attempt of the clean and jerk, which was validated by the judges after reviewing the images, since at first it wasn’t considered good, which caused the claim of the Colombian delegation.

Chen, who had lifted 145kg in the snatch and 175kg on his first clean and jerk attempt, to put on an additional 12kg to end up lifting 187 and totaling 332kg, one more than Mosquera.

Italy’s Mirko Zanni took the bronze.

“The dream was to be an Olympic champion, but I have a very strong competitor next to me and I am proud to have been on the podium with him,” said Mosquera about his opponent.

“I was confident, because I had already lifted that weight,” declared the champion, who also highlighted: “The clean and jerk is my strong point, so despite being behind after the start, I knew I could do it (come back).”

Kelvin Hoefler Gives Brazil Its First Medal at Tokyo Games

2020 Tokyo Games

Kelvin Hoefler has put Brazil on the board…

The 27-year-old Brazilian skateboarder made history in the early hours of Sunday at the 2020 Tokyo Games when he won Brazil’s first medal in skateboarding, a sport making its debut at the Olympics.

Kelvin Hoefler

Hoefler took silver in the street category with a combined score of 36.15. The medal won by the native of Guarujá, São Paulo, was Brazil’s first in this Olympics.

Highly ranked in the street category for a long time, Hoefler practiced skateboarding and surfing as a child. He had the support of his family from the beginning.

Japan’s Yuto Horigome took home the gold.