“Creativity creates culture. Culture shapes values. Values determine the future.” With this motto, the Brazil Olympic Committee (COB) promoted “Esporte Cria,” an event presented to almost a thousand teenagers who attend high school in 24 public schools in the State of Rio de Janeiro. The objective was to show that it is possible to work with the sport without being an athlete or coach. The opening was made by President Paulo Wanderley, who shared part of his trajectory.
“Since I was 10 years old, my life has been sport. All I have is the sport that gave me. I was an athlete, took the Physical Education course and became a coach, and then sports manager. Physical Education is not just going to school and teaching. Sport provides many opportunities, such as lawyers, photographers, communicators, among others. Sport creates opportunities, as it was for me, a new world has opened up. I hope that this afternoon can awaken dreams and desires, and that you will have the discipline and strength to run after them and take advantage of the opportunities that arise,” said the Olympic champion coach in Barcelona 1992.
The event is an initiative of Transforma, the Committee's Olympic Values promotion program, in partnership with the Rio de Janeiro State Department of Education. Among the professions in the sports environment are doctors, psychologists, nutritionists, physiotherapists, massage therapists, lawyers, photographers and sports communicators, event producers, DJs, managers, among others. An atmosphere of great energy and joy took over the Grande Sala, in Cidade das Artes, west of Rio de Janeiro.
“We are very happy with the event. We were inspired by other events for students, but there wasn't one for sports. They don't have this clarity that there are a lot of professionals involved in the entire sports system. We strive to have a fun program that encourages interactions, both on stage and on social networks,” said Carol Araújo, manager of Culture and Olympic Values at COB.
“I see several advantages for students in an event like this. I would like to congratulate the COB because it was a work very tactfully done, considering their demands and needs. The event format, in short lectures, didn't let the teenagers become bored. Introducing job possibilities is very important to them and today, especially, we were able to discover many new things. Many of them still haven't decided what they are going to study at the university, or if they are going there, and I'm sure the event will help them a lot," said Gisele Tortorella, from the Superintendence of Strategic Projects, from the Rio de Janeiro State Department of Education.
Inspired by fairs and student guides and by TED Talks, Esporte Cria had the participation of several professionals from the sports environment. The presentation was performed by teacher and influencer Carol Mendonça. The lectures included Wander Roberto, photojournalist at six Olympic Games; Taciana Pinto, physical educator and sports manager; Mariany Nonaka, former athlete and lawyer; Thiago Chalub, sports doctor; Amanda Lima, physical therapist; Renata Parra, nutritionist; Eduardo de Cillo, psychologist; Rui Raggio, massage therapist. Journalist Bárbara Coelho was interviewed by one of the students.
“A new experience for me, but I like to communicate. I play handball, but I stopped during the pandemic. Bárbara also paused the sport, but followed a career linked to it. She really inspires me. Being on stage was a mixture of emotion and nervousness, but it was very good, I will take this with me forever, I will never forget this experience,” said Maria Madalena, 17 years old, from Escola Monteiro de Carvalho, in Santa Teresa.
There were also boxing and breaking performances, with the participation of students on stage. But the highlight of the event can be considered the participation of Rafaela Silva, Olympic champion in Rio 2016 and owner of two world titles, the last one won a few weeks ago. The athletes' representative at the event did not hold back tears when talking about her trajectory and touched everyone there.
“I really enjoyed everything, the event was beautiful and impressive. I think it's really nice to have this opportunity of finding out this other side of the sport. But what I really liked the most was the end, with Rafaela speaking. She is a great example of resilience, of how to overcome obstacles," said João Vitor, 17 years old, from CIEP 119, in Austin, a neighborhood in the municipality of Nova Iguaçu.
“It was very exciting for me. I believe it will add a lot to the lives of these young people. When I was their age, I didn't have knowledge from outside the community, that was my world. I thought I wouldn't have opportunities. And that's why I think this event is so important for them to have this contact, this exchange, see the professions, go to college. And, for me, it's really nice to receive this affection. It adds to both sides,” said Rafaela, who cried during her speech to the students, many of them from communities like her, who grew up in Cidade de Deus.