Brazil in Tokyo

Image: Evgeny Chebotarev
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By SIMON PEDRO*

The emotion of overcoming each athlete took the place of obscurantist boredom and inspires us to also overcome these times of misery

How not to be moved by the Closing Ceremony of the Olympics that took place this Sunday and with the achievements of our athletes, the effort to overcome obstacles to reach the podium or among the first, the interviews after the races? Also with the failures of the majority, the nonconformity for having trained so much and there being surpassed by other athletes even unknown?

We are also very touched by a kind of nationalist spirit that proves that, despite the economic, political, social and environmental setbacks, we can, through sports, regain the pride of being Brazilian. The athletes showed a Brazil that Bolsonaro is trying to succumb to, even starting with the extinction of the Ministry of Sports. So many Brazilian athletes, proud of their origins, beliefs and guidelines, marked the Olympic Games with human diversity, showing that fraternal coexistence and not hatred and violence, encouraged by the current president and his supporters, is our main national wealth.

Of the 7 gold medals won, 4 went to athletes from the Northeast Region, a place that Lula transformed from a “drought place” to a place that develops and generates opportunities in all areas, including sports. Gymnastics, a very high-performance sport, had in the young Rebeca, from the favelas of Rio, who taught her that investing in sports as a factor in social transformation is an excellent path.

But, I'll confess something that also called my attention: with the exception of some soccer and volleyball athletes, I didn't know most of our athletes who went to the Olympics. I got to know them on the broadcasts. I thought: “it could be my problem that I don't follow the news and the life of sports other than football”. But I asked here at home and everyone confirmed my perception: our heroes or representatives only see familiar faces when they stand out. This is the case of Rebeca, Alison, Isaquias and other Brazilians who moved us. The mainstream media is very guilty of this, as well as the sponsoring companies that are only interested in sports if it is to exploit their brands and increase their profits… Also governments, like the current one, that do not invest enough in sports public policies

It may seem, in the eyes of the uninformed, that our athletes are ultra-professionalized, but 80% of them depend on the Bolsa Atleta program created by the Lula government to keep themselves and train. It is appalling to know that 42% of our athletes who went to Tokyo do not have any sponsorship. That 19% live on up to R$2 a month and 7% live on up to R$1 a month. That 13% had to crowdfund to go to Japan and 10% don't even live from the sport, of which 15% are application drivers. I got this data from Mateus Angel Borja Leal's twitter.

That's okay: I support a more humanist view and that's why I'm not defending here that every Olympic sport should be professionalized, because that's not a consensus and the good thing is that amateur sportsmen still have space in the Olympic games and other world competitions. Also – let’s see the example of our Fadinha, Rayssa Leal, silver medalist in skateboarding – we have cases of sports such as artistic gymnastics that seem to be more appropriate for the physique of teenagers and are less long-lived than others and here it is necessary to take care of other aspects such as studies, leisure and the needs of this phase of our young people's lives. The rebellion of the young American athlete, Simone Biles, to denounce the pressure she suffered and that affected her mental health. I defend that this spirit, of space also for amateurs, should prevail, as is the case of athletes with physical disabilities, called Paralympics. I draw attention to the lack of knowledge, lack of information, highlighted in everyday life, so that sport can be inspiration and motivation for ordinary people to practice it, maintain health and also have fun.

The emotion of overcoming each athlete took the place of obscurantist boredom and inspires us to also overcome these times of misery, contempt for life and to fight for political changes!

* Simon Peter he was state deputy (2003-2015) and municipal secretary of services in the government of Fernando Haddad.

 

 

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