Olympics: Brazilians to watch in London
By Dialogo July 24, 2012
RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil – Keep an eye on these Brazilian athletes at the London Games:
César Cielo, Santa Bárbara d’Oeste, swimming: Cielo, 25, is the defending Olympic champion in the 50-meter freestyle, which he won at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, where he also took bronze in the 100-meter freestyle. During the four years between Beijing and London, Cielo medaled at all of the International Swimming Federation competitions in which he competed, including first-place finishes in the 50-meter freestyle and the 50-meter butterfly at the 2011 World Swimming Championships in Shanghai, China, and the 50-meter and 100-meter freestyles at the 2009 World Swimming Championships in Rome.
Leandro Guilheiro, Suzano, judo: A bronze medalist at the Olympic Games in Athens (2004) and Beijing (2008) in the lightweight category, the 29 year-old judoka qualified for London as the top-ranked middleweight (81 kilograms) (178.57 pounds) and under. Following his second-place finish at the World Championships in Tokyo in 2010 and a gold medal at the Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico, in 2011, Guilheiro has focused his training entirely on the London Games.
Maurren Higa Maggi, São Carlos, track & field: Maggi is the defending Olympic champion. She also won gold medals at the Pan American Games in Winnipeg (1999), Rio de Janeiro (2007) and Guadalajara (2011). Maggi, 36, hopes to leap her way to another gold medal in London.
Fabiana Murer, Campinas, track & field: The disappearance of one of her poles during the pole vault competition at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing seriously shook up Murer, who had won a gold medal at the Pan American Games in Rio de Janeiro a year earlier. Since then, Murer, 31, finished first at the Indoor World Championships in Doha, Qatar, in 2010 and the World Championships in Daegu, South Korea, the following year. Her main rival is the Russian Yelena Isinbayeva, who currently holds the world record and is the only woman in history to clear five meters.
Neymar, Mogi das Cruzes, soccer: The Brazilian national soccer team has won every international competition except the Olympics. But Neymar, 20, is expected to lead the young team to victory.
Bruno Prada and Robert Scheidt, São Paulo, sailing: The Star Class sailing team took home a silver medal in Beijing in 2008, sandwiched between world championships in 2007 and 2011. Scheidt, 39, and Prada, 40, are the favorites to take home a gold medal in London. Scheidt has won eight world championships (1995, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2004 and 2005) and two Olympic golds (1996, 2004).