Waiting has finally ended. On this Thursday 31st, eleven years later, Bruno Lins, José Carlos Moreira (Codó), Sandro Viana and Vicente Lenílson were awarded their well-deserved bronze medal from the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. In a ceremony held at the Olympic Museum in Lausanne, Switzerland, the athletes who represented Team Brazil in the 4x100m relay in Beijing rose to the podium and joined the gallery of Olympic heroes.
The Brazilian Olympic Committee (COB) was represented at the ceremony by the Olympic champion Rogério Sampaio, current general manager of the entity.
“It was a very beautiful and exciting ceremony. Being an Olympic athlete is already something that glorifies their sport’s history, but being a medalist takes it to another level. Albeit belatedly, this award represents this recognition. As someone who won the gold medal in ‘92, to participate in a historical moment of the Brazilian Olympic sport and to see a medal given to our athletes at the Olympic Museum in Lausanne, was unforgettable”, said Rogério Sampaio, judo gold medalist in Barcelona 92.
The quartet received the medals from the hands of Bernard Rajzman, icon of the so-called Silver Generation of Brazilian Volleyball in Los Angeles 1984 and member of the International Olympic Committee.
“Personally, as a Brazilian and Olympic medalist, I am thrilled and deeply happy. Representing the country at the biggest sporting event in the world is magnificent, and achieving an Olympic medal is simply breathtaking. I welcome the distinct group of Olympic medalists and congratulate them on being part of Olympic history”, said Bernard Rajzman.
The third place of the Brazilian team was confirmed last year after Jamaican Nesta Carter failed his drugs test after the Beijing Games. As he tested positive, the Jamaican team had to return their gold medal. As a result, the Trinidad & Tobago team, which had been second, inherited first place and the gold medals. Japan went from third to second place, and the Brazilian quartet, who made it on 38s24, got the bronze.
Much applauded by the nearly 100 people present at the Olympic Museum, the Brazilian quartet was thrilled with the medals on their chests. “It hadn't hit me completely until they put the medal on me, I looked at it and a movie played on my head, and then tears of happiness rolled for being recognized as an Olympic medalist. The 2008 Beijing Olympic Games was my first, special and unique. I would like to thank all Brazilians who have cheered for us. It is a magical moment in our lives. Now we really feel as Olympic medalists, with our medal on hand”, celebrated Bruno Lins.
"It feels wonderful, unexplainable; an Olympic medal is unlike anything. I froze up when I went to get the medal. I thank very much the Brazilian Olympic Committee and the Brazilian Athletics Confederation, who is also part of this. This medal is not just mine; It’s for Brazil, for my family, for my coaches, for everyone who has been supporting me until this day. I wish all athletes to devote themselves, to train, to give their best shot, to reach such a moment, epic and unique”, said José Carlos Moreira, also known as Codó, after his hometown.
Vicente Lenílson is the only one of the four who already had an Olympic medal: silver in the 4x100m relay at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games. “A movie played on my head of everything I had to do, to train, to give up, to dedicate myself, away from family, to be at the Beijing Games. To rise up at the Olympic podium is just magical. It was back in 2000, but today I felt the same again. “It's not just about being in the stadium, it's about recovering what is rightfully yours. Now I'm one level above. Few have an Olympic medal and fewer have two. I currently handle a social project, returning to society a bit of what athletics gave me”, said Vicente Lenílson, who also took part in the 2004 Athens Olympic Games.
Additionally to the men's 4x100m relay medal, Brazil now has 17 podiums at the Beijing Olympics. This is also the 17th Olympic medal in the history of national athletics.
“All I did was to devote myself to the sport for the last 20 years. When I left Manaus, I sold everything to become an athlete. I only thought of doing my best every day until getting to the Olympic Games. When I entered the Olympic universe, my life changed. Since then the sole thing I have done is to cultivate the Olympic sport in the best way possible through my life example. I was already an accomplished athlete, satisfied with fourth place. But everything changed when the news came. I had an emotional outbreak mixing past, present and future”, said Sandro Viana, 42-years-old, the team’s most experienced athlete.
Athletes chose the Olympic Museum to hold the ceremony, among five other venue options. The event aims to recognize their achievements and is part of the new Olympic Medal Reallocation Principles, created by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Athletes Commission, and approved by the IOC Executive Council last year.
This is the second Olympic medal inherited by Brazilian athletics at the Beijing Games. In the women's 4x100m relay, Brazilians Lucimar Moura, Rosangela Santos, Rosemar Coelho Neto and Thaissa Presti also inherited the bronze medal after Russia's disqualification. The medals were awarded during the 2017 Brazil Olympic Award.
Furthermore, Rodrigo Pessoa got the gold medal of the 2004 Athens Olympic Games in equestrian showjumping after the Irish Cian O'Connor’s horse tested positive for a banned substance. The ceremony was held in Rio de Janeiro in 2005.