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Brazilian Receives Unprecedented Nomination for U.S. Coast Guard Athlete of the Year

Brazilian Receives Unprecedented Nomination for U.S. Coast Guard Athlete of the Year

By Dialogo
June 20, 2011

The only representative of the U.S. Coast Guard registered for the 5th CISM Military World Games, which will take place from July 16th to 24th in Rio de Janeiro, Petty Officer Tiago Gonçalves has been nominated for the U.S. Coast Guard’s athlete of the year. The award ceremony at which the athlete of the year will be named will be held in December, in Washington, D.C.

“Three individuals are nominated, and one receives the award. A Brazilian has never been nominated for this prize,” the petty officer said. “I have a good chance of receiving the award, chiefly because I was nominated by the officers at the headquarters in Washington, D.C., which rarely happens,” he proudly explained.

A marine science technician, the 29-year-old petty officer was born in Rio de Janeiro and started to practice judo at the age of four. After participating in countless state and national competitions in Brazil, he took a break to dedicate himself to his studies in 2000, when he was 19. Now, the petty officer is very happy about the possibility of reuniting with his family in July.

“Participating in a worldwide event at this level is a dream for any athlete, still more in my hometown. All my family, friends, and teachers who guided me along this path, like the shihan Oswaldo Simões and the shihan Ricardo Ruffoni, live here in Rio de Janeiro. I don’t think there is a better place for worldwide events of this caliber,” said Tiago, who last visited the Marvelous City in May 2010.

A marine science technician with the U.S. Coast Guard, Petty Officer Tiago Gonçalves will be the only representative of that body at the 5th CISM Military World Games. The 29-year-old athlete was born in Rio de Janeiro and joined the U.S. Navy in 2009.

A black belt in judo, jiu-jitsu, and karate, and a former MMA fighter, the petty officer went to live in the United States to study and had never thought of joining the military. Today, he lives in the Galveston-Houston area and is the pride of the U.S. Coast Guard.

“The U.S. Armed Forces have five branches, of which three belong to the Navy (U.S. Coast Guard, Marine Corps, and Navy), then the Army and the Air Force. The athletes were selected from among all the branches, and I’m the only one from the Coast Guard,” he affirmed, recalling that a special reporter from the Coast Guard will accompany him until the end of the Peace Games. “He said that he’s going to be my shadow.”