RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Brazil soccer star Neymar says taking the last penalty of the shootout against Germany in the final at the Olympics was the most nervous moment of his life.
Neymar converted the kick to give Brazil its first Olympic soccer title, winning 5-4 on penalties after the match ended 1-1 after extra time on Aug. 20.
The Barcelona striker was back at the Maracana for a charity game organized by former great Zico. Looking at the goalmouth where he scored the Olympic decider, Neymar recalled his key role in the penalty showdown.
“I am remembering that walk to it. It was the most nervous moment of my life. I couldn’t think of anything but ‘For the love of God, where will I kick this ball?” the 24-year old striker said Wednesday night. “Then God gave me the capacity to be calm and score that goal.”
Brazil had long sought Olympic gold as the only soccer title it didn’t have. Neymar carried Brazil to the final in the 2012 London Olympics, but lost to Mexico.
Gold in Rio was seen by many fans as a rebirth of Brazilian soccer after the 7-1 humiliation against Germany in the 2014 World Cup semifinals.
After the final, Brazil’s national team managed to rise from sixth to first in the South American World Cup qualifiers. Only one more win should take the team of new coach Tite to the 2018 Russia World Cup.
Neymar scored two goals for Zico’s team in Wednesday’s match which raised money for relatives of victims of the air crash last month that killed 19 players from Brazilian club Chapecoense.
After two-time Olympic high jumper Jamie Nieto suffered a spinal cord injury while attempting a standing back flip in April 2016, he decided to set a goal for himself. Nietro was determined to walk down the aisle at his own wedding.
On Saturday, July 22, 2017, Nieto walked to the altar in front of everyone gathered at Christ Temple Apostolic Church in east San Diego – something his doctors said might not be possible.
Nieto, with some assistance, entered the church where he then married his bride, Jamaican hurdler Shevon Stoddart, exactly how he set out to – on his feet.
Five-time Olympian Kerri Walsh Jennings dislocated her shoulder during the semifinals of a beach volleyball tournament in Poland and forfeited the bronze medal match.
Walsh Jennings and new partner Nicole Branagh were tied in the third set of their match against Canada on Saturday when Walsh Jennings dove for the ball with her right arm and twisted her hand in the sand. After a four-minute delay, Canada went on to win the third set 16-14 and advance to the gold medal match.
“I just went for a short dig and the surface in Europe is so shallow and so hard and there’s no give for our bodies,” Walsh Jennings explained after the match in an interview with her shoulder wrapped in ice.
Walsh Jennings had surgery on the same shoulder during the run-up to the 2016 Rio Olympics, where she and April Ross won the bronze medal. Walsh Jennings won three gold medals with Misty May Treanor.
Walsh Jennings said she is looking forward to returning to the FIVB World Tour in Vienna in one week.