TOKYO, July 21 (Xinhua) – The Tokyo Games will mark Brazil’s 23rd participation in the Olympics, as the South American nation has missed only one edition (1928) since its first appearance in 1920. In total, the Brazilian athletes have won 129 medals in 15 different summer sports. Xinhua takes a look at Brazilian athletes and teams with potential to make an impact in Japan.
Brazil will send its largest contingent of athletes to Olympic Games on foreign soil, with 301 competitors in 35 sports making the trip to Tokyo. The previous record of 277 athletes was set at the 2008 Beijing Games.
Overall, the largest country in South America has racked up 30 Olympic gold, 36 silver and 63 bronze. The seven gold medals won at the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro marked the biggest win ever for Brazil, eclipsing the five won in Athens 12 years earlier.
Sailing is historically Brazil’s most successful event with seven gold medals, followed by track and field (five), volleyball (five), judo (four) and beach volleyball (three).
Sailor Robert Scheidt is the most decorated Olympian in the country with two gold, two silver and one bronze.
TOKYO FLAG HOLDER
Judoka Ketleyn Quadros and volleyball player Bruno Rezende will lead the Brazil squad in the arena of the Olympic Stadium during Friday’s opening ceremony.
Quadros became the first Brazilian woman to win an Olympic medal in an individual sport when she won bronze in the 57kg judo event at the 2008 Beijing Games.
Rezende was a member of the Brazilian men’s volleyball team which won gold in Rio five years ago. He also played in the Brazilian teams which won silver in Beijing in 2008 and London in 2012.
GREAT TRACK OF HOPE
Alison dos Santos’ recent performances in the 400m hurdles have raised hopes that he could become Brazil’s first Olympic medalist in an individual track and field event since the 1988 Games in Seoul.
The 21-year-old has broken the South American record for the event four times this year, including a time of 47.34 seconds in Stockholm on July 4.
His biggest rival in Tokyo will be Norway’s Karsten Warholm, who clocked 46.70 seconds earlier this month, breaking Kevin Young’s 1992 world record.
More than 15 years separate them, but Eduarda “Duda” Lisboa and Rio 2016 silver medalist Agatha Bednarczuk clicked as they formed their beach volleyball partnership in 2017.
Since then, the duo have scored three podiums in the round-the-world final, including the winner’s trophy in 2018.
Duda, 22, and Bednarczuk, 38, currently lead the International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) world rankings and will compete in the Tokyo Games among the favorites to win the gold medal.
FIGHTING THE CHANCES
Bia Ferreira will spearhead Brazil’s boxing hopes as she goes for gold in the 60kg category.
The 28-year-old won the lightweight title at the 2019 world championships in Russia and finished 2020 as the world leader in her division.
Ferreira says she’s unfazed at being the favorite to win the gold medal.
“I am happy to be considered the one to beat because I believe that when you are the target it is because your work is recognized. I am very wary because I want to stay in this position for a long time,” she said. declared. was quoted as telling the Brazilian newspaper Folha de S.Paulo.
The recent dominance of Brazilians Gabriel Medina and Italo Ferreira on the world surf circuit makes them favorites to triumph at the Tokyo Games.
Both have made no secret of their desire to add an Olympic gold medal to their growing list of accolades, describing the prospect of an Olympic gold medal “a dream” in recent media interviews.
Their main challengers include John Florence and Kolohe Andino from the United States and Australian pair Julian Wilson and Owen Wright.
In the women’s competition, Brazil will be represented by Silvana Lima and Tatiana Weston-Webb.
BACK FROM THE EDGE
Brazil will be looking for a fourth gold in men’s volleyball in those games and it would take considerable upheaval to deprive Renan Dal Zotto’s side.
The Canarinhos are currently No.1 in the FIVB World Rankings and are also the reigning Olympic champions.
The Brazil camp suffered a major scare in April, when Dal Zotto was admitted to an intensive unit with COVID-19 and needed the help of a ventilator to help him breathe. In an interview with TV Globo in June, Dal Zotto said he believed he had “died twice” during his 36 days in hospital.
The 60-year-old has since made a full recovery and was cleared by medics to travel to Tokyo last week.
Brazil’s main rivals for the gold medal are Poland, Russia, France and the United States.
THE KINGS OF FOOTBALL
Despite its five world championship titles, Brazil had to wait until Rio 2016 to clinch their first Olympic gold in men’s football. Neymar was the hero, converting the decisive penalty as Brazil beat Germany on penalties in the final at the Maracana Stadium.
Neymar won’t be present this time around, but head coach Andre Jardine still has plenty of talent and experience at his disposal with a squad that includes Aston Villa midfielder Douglas Luiz, Lyon playmaker Bruno. Guimaraes and the former Barcelona duo Dani Alves and Malcom.
Brazil were drawn in Group D in Tokyo alongside Germany, Saudi Arabia and Cote d’Ivoire.
Likewise, the Brazilian women’s team should qualify for the final stages of their competition.
Led by Sweden’s Pia Sundhage, the first foreigner to coach the women’s national team, Brazil will be keen to redeem a disappointing performance in Rio, when they lost the bronze medal match to Canada.
It could be the last Olympics appearance for 43-year-old Formiga Mota midfielder and 35-year-old Marta, six times Ballon d’Or.