Forced isolation by the coronavirus pandemic helped Rebeca Andrade not only recovering her knee from surgery, but also allowed the gymnast to get to know herself better and strengthen her emotional side, which was fundamental to her historic silver medal win in the all-around. Tokyo Games this Thursday.
“From last year I managed to put into practice the part of not feeling nervous, of keeping control, of being able to do everything I did in training. This process of getting to know me is very important,” said the gymnast after winning the first Olympic medal in women’s gymnastics in Brazil, according to the website of Time Brasil.
“The pandemic was incredible for me, both for my operation and for my psychology. I was able to take care of myself, get to know myself better, know what was good, what was bad. I connected with myself, and today we see the result of that,” he added.
The race was marked by the absence of American Simone Biles, gold favorite, but who withdrew from playing in the final after qualifying with the best grade to focus on her mental health.
Rebeca, 22, underwent the last of three knee surgeries in mid-2019, after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in her knee for the third time in four years.
The injuries added to enormous challenges faced by the gymnast since childhood, marked by financial difficulties.
“I slept at the coaches’ house so I could get it, my mother would walk to give me the money for driving, my brother would take me on a bicycle,” recalled Rebeca, who closed her solo performance to the sound of “Baile de Favela” .
A fan of Daiane dos Santos, Rebeca said that the first medal in women’s gymnastics in Brazil represents all the women who have gone through the sport before her and can also feel proud.
The gymnast finished the final in second place with a total score of 57,298 –15,300 on the jump, 14,666 on the uneven bars, 13,666 on the crossbar and 13,666 on the floor. The American Sunisa Lee took the gold with 57,433 in total and the Russian Angelina Melinnova took the bronze with 57,199.
She will still compete in two more finals in Tokyo, in the jump and on the ground.
“I went through a lot and put these Games as my objective, but my objective here was to do my best, to shine, and I think I shone: I got our first Olympic medal in women’s artistic gymnastics,” she said.