It was impossible to contain the tears watching the victory of Brazilian skateboarding in Tokyo. Kelvin Hoefler and Rayssa Leal won silver medals in Street Skate.
The “skate fairy” as the Maranhense became known, said in an interview “skating is for everyone, it’s not just a boy’s sport”. At thirteen years old, Rayssa has already made history by being the youngest Brazilian Olympic athlete to win a medal at the Olympic Games and with skateboarding, a sport that in the 1980s in Brazil was considered a “transgressive practice” by conservative politicians.
Read here: No magic: Rayssa Leal conquers the world with joy and great maneuvers
Like skateboarding, surfing was also considered, until 40 years ago, a sport on the sidelines. In Tokyo, Brazil had four representatives in the modality, two men and two women, and the Potiguar Italo Ferreira won Brazil’s first gold medal in surfing. It is emblematic and representative that the first medals in the country were won precisely by the marginalized sports.
::Italo Ferreira wins Brazil’s first gold in surfing in Tokyo::
Brazil has 302 athletes in 35 modalities, in the 32nd. edition of the Olympic Games, which are being held in the metropolitan region of Tokyo, Japan. In the midst of a world that is still experiencing the chaos of a pandemic, hosting an event like this seemed almost impossible. Postponed by a year, Tokyo 2020 brings entertainment, representation and shakes social structures, being considered the Olympics of rupture and diversity.
With chances for a medal in the coming days, Brazilian Rebeca Andrade, from artistic gymnastics, made a beautiful and strong solo performance to the sound of “Baile de Favela”, by MC João. Daughter of a maid, raised on the outskirts of Guarulhos, 22-year-old young man is writing his story and being part of the break that Tokyo has been providing.
Also read: Tokyo Olympics starts with anti-racist demonstrations and fight against covid; see photos
And why emphasize so much that Tokyo 2020 is diverse and historic? Because sport is an activity that has a social and political role. When you talk about sports, you talk about fights since the beginning. In its essence and practice, it not only promotes entertainment, but also collaborates with the formation of citizens, educates and causes social change.
I can remember here what happened in the first game of the Brazilian men’s soccer team, which is seeking its second Olympic gold in the modality: the young player Paulinho celebrated his goal by making a gesture that symbolizes the arrow of Oxóssi, the orixá of the forests. Brazil is a country where denunciations of cases related to religious intolerance only increase every year, especially towards religions of African origins.
It is also important to remember the survey conducted by the OutSports website, which states that in these Olympic Games at least 160 athletes are assumed to be lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and non-binary. Laurel Hubbard, from New Zealand weightlifting, is the first transgender athlete to participate in an Olympics.
Sport draws itself as a portrait of society and it is in the historical achievements of previously marginalized sports, in the music labeled “favelada” that becomes the composition of a presentation, in the strength and freedom to demonstrate one’s belief, in the courage to cover a sponsor’s slogan that does not represent you, is that sport assumes its transformative position and to reduce it to simple entertainment is an extreme mistake.
When something shapes, educates, provokes, transforming anyone’s values and attitudes, it already registers its socio-political role.
*Journalist, lover of regionalist literature and scribbler of chronicles and stories from the sertão.
**This is an opinion piece. The author’s vision does not necessarily express the newspaper’s editorial line Brazil in fact.
Source: BoF Paraíba
Edition: Heloisa de Sousa