Silver, funk, and injuries: Rebeca Andrade’s trajectory in the Olympics

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Rebeca Andrade’s career has been marked by injuries — more precisely three knee surgeries in recent years — but this Thursday, the athlete won the first Olympic medal in women’s artistic gymnastics in Brazil by competing in the final of the general individual event in Brazil. Olympic Games of Tokyo and get the silver medal.

Rebecca traveled to the Tokyo Games without the Brazilian women’s team, which failed to qualify after playing four consecutive Olympic Games. It was not an easy path for Rebeca, who in mid-2019 tore the anterior cruciate ligament in her knee for the third time in four years. Those injuries kept her out of three of the four world championships she would compete in.

The Brazilian remained focused on Tokyo, achieving a strong return in early 2020 for an event from world Cup qualifying for the Olympics, but the Games were postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Despite having to train for some time in Portugal due to coronavirus restrictions in Brazil, Rebeca secured her individual ticket to Tokyo last month with a victory in the all-around at the Pan American Gymnastics Championship.

“Thanks for all the hard work and not easy, thanks for all the positive energy, thanks for believing in me at all costs,” she said excitedly to her Instagram fans last month, accompanied by a photo of a celebratory jump.

The gymnast, born in Guarulhos (SP), has been working in gymnastics since he was 10 years old, having gone through financial difficulties as a child. Early in her career, Rebeca already surprised her by winning her first title at age 13, in her first professional competition, and beating favorites as Jade Barbosa e Daniele Hypólito.

In Rio, aged 17 and in his first Olympics, occupied 11th place in the all-around, among 24 gymnasts — when he performed on the ground with “Single Ladies”, by the American singer Beyoncé. In this Olympic cycle, Rebeca — who is now 22 years old — switched from American pop to Brazilian funk. His solo performance in Tokyo, to the sound of “Favela Ball“, by singer MC João, and remix with Bach, guaranteed the presence of the Brazilian in the final of the all-around and earned praise among commentators and fans.

In a video to G1, the MC thanked the athlete for choosing the song. “I would like to thank Rebeca for choosing this song to enhance her performance even more, and for being part of such an important moment in her life,” said the singer. “Regardless of anything, I already think she’s a winner, a champion, even more for everything she’s been through, for all the barriers she’s faced and overcome,” he adds.

Rebeca Andrade qualified for the all-around final in Tokyo second, behind American favorite Simone Biles, who withdrew from the competition to focus on her mental health.