Brazil

Yana Marques
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Who is Brazil’s greatest Olympian?

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Brazil’s two major sports are soccer and volleyball (indoor and beach), but no soccer players make this list. It’s because most male soccer players only play one Olympics (Neymar being an exception), and the Brazilian women (who have a legend in Marta) haven’t won an Olympic title. Brazil has others to choose from who earned medals at multiple Olympics … 

Escadinha
Volleyball
Four Olympic Medals

Sergio Santos is known as Serginho or Escadinha, the latter translating to stepladder. The libero shares the record for most Olympic volleyball medals. Escadinha reached the final of every Olympic tournament he played, the last in Rio at age 40. He grew up in a favela on the outskirts of Sao Paulo. It was thought his national team career was over after the 2012 London Games, but longtime Brazilian coach Bernardinho called him back in 2015 for one more run. Wise move. Escadinha was named tournament MVP, leading Brazil to home gold. After the Olympics, Escadinha’s farewell match with the national team drew 35,000 people.

Fabi/Sheilla
Volleyball
Two Olympic Gold Medals

Brazil’s greatest female Olympian has to be an indoor volleyball player from gold-medal teams in 2008 and 2012. No other Brazilian women own multiple golds. Six women made both of those Olympic volleyball teams. Of those, Fabi and Sheilla had the most acclaim. Fabi was the best libero at the Beijing Games. She later earned best digger and best receiver honors in other major international competitions. Sheilla, an opposite and Brazil’s top scorer at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics, rejoined the national team last year after a retirement. Another medal in Tokyo could vault her ahead of Fabi.

Torben Grael
Sailing
Five Olympic Medals

Competed in every Olympics from 1984-2004, making the podium in five of his six appearances. Grael memorably lost gold in 1988 due to a broken mast in the final two-person Star race. His gold medals came in 1996 and 2004, the last one at age 44, both with Marcelo Ferreira. Grael became the first sailor to earn five Olympic medals, a record later tied by Brit Ben Ainslie and countryman Robert Scheidt. Grael and Scheidt were due to face off in Brazil’s Olympic Trials in 2008 before Grael withdrew.

Ricardo/Emanuel
Beach Volleyball
Three Olympic Medals each

The only Olympic men’s beach volleyball team to win multiple medals. Ricardo and Emanuel earned gold in 2004 and bronze in 2008. Each legend also earned a silver medal with a different partner at other Games. Together, they own the international men’s beach volleyball record book. Emanuel grew up so skinny that he didn’t play soccer and had to transition out of indoor volleyball. Even when he started playing professionally on the beach, he was called “Bones.” Ricardo was a converted soccer goalie. Ricardo and Emanuel broke up in the London Olympic cycle because Emanuel wanted to move from Joao Pessoa to live in Rio full-time with his wife.

Robert Scheidt
Sailing
Five Olympic Medals

Extended Brazil’s sailing dominance after Grael bowed out of Olympic competition before the Beijing Games. Scheidt, like Grael, earned medals in five of his six Olympics. Scheidt, like Grael, earned golds in 1996 and 2004 (Laser class, not Star). In Rio, Scheidt placed fourth in a bid to break his tie with Grael and Ainslie for the Olympic sailing medals record. A U.S. Olympic coach once called Scheidt, “the Michael Jordan of sailing.” His world championships record — golds spanning 1995 to 2013 — betters Grael’s. Scheidt is still competing at age 47 — after a reported retirement in 2017.

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Marcio, retired Brazil beach volleyball star, fights coronavirus in hospital

Marcio Beach Volleyball
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Marcio Araujo, a retired Brazilian beach volleyball star, has been hospitalized with the coronavirus and said his life was in danger over the weekend, according to Globo.

Marcio, a 2008 Olympic silver medalist and 2005 World champion, posted an image on Instagram Saturday holding a sign that read, in Portuguese, I will recover if God wants, while wearing a mask over the nose and mouth.

He reportedly said Saturday that he returned from a hospital because there was no ICU bed available for him in his native Fortaleza. On Monday, he posted an image of a man in a hospital bed wearing a mask. The caption read that he was readmitted to a hospital with a lack of oxygen.

Marcio, now 46, teamed with Fabio Luiz Magalhaes for that 2005 World title and 2008 Olympic silver medal, falling to Americans Phil Dalhausser and Todd Rogers in a three-set final in Beijing.

Marcio, who became a father before his first Olympics in 2004, and the 6-foot-8 Fabio, nicknamed “Jaws,” were the second-ranked team in the world for most of the Beijing Olympic cycle.

Marcio later paired with legend Ricardo and earned a 2011 World silver medal, after which they split. Ricardo went to the 2012 Olympics with his new partner. Marcio did not make it to the London Games and wound down his career.

 

11-year-old skateboarder betters Tony Hawk with first vert 1080

Skateboard vert
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Gui Khury, an 11-year-old Brazilian, became the first skateboarder to land a 1080 on a vert ramp, according to the X Games. The feat came 21 years after Tony Hawk completed the first 900.

Khury posted an Instagram video of the feat on Friday. The legend Hawk reposted it in an Instagram Story with the caption, “But vert isn’t in the Olympics.”

Skateboarding debuts at the Olympics at the Tokyo Games in 2021 with two disciplines: park and street.

There is no vert, the most well known event in the U.S. given Hawk’s prowess in the late 1990s at the dawn of the X Games.

Shaun White also excelled in vert, winning a pair of X Games titles. White, after winning his third Olympic halfpipe snowboarding title in PyeongChang, began a bid to qualify for Tokyo in skateboarding while lamenting that he couldn’t do it in vert.

Instead, he tried park, finishing 13th at the 2019 World Championships. It was impressive given White hadn’t competed on the top level in skateboarding in several years, but not the kind of result that put him in good position to qualify for Tokyo. White announced in late February that he abandoned the Olympic bid.

Other skateboarders have landed a 1080 on a larger, mega ramp, including U.S. Olympic park hopeful Tom Schaar.

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