The 13th of December 2020 will remain forever in Cláudio Roberto Sousa's memory. Twenty years after his 4x100m victory at the Sydney Games, the sprinter from Piauí finally received the long-awaited Olympic silver medal in a ceremony held during the Brazil Athletics Trophy, at the Olympic Training and Research Center (COTP) in São Paulo.
Together with his relay companions - Vicente Lenílson, Edson Luciano, André Domingos, and Claudinei Quirino - Cláudio Roberto entered the track and started to remember the old times. The quintet simulated a 4x100m relay, with Cláudio completing the lap on the track. Then, already moved, he went towards the podium, where he put the medal on his chest for the first time.
"I had been enjoying this expectation for the medal for some time, but now it finally arrived. I went after it in my own way, without attacking anyone, without creating controversy. I am very grateful to the boys for coming, and to COB and CBAt for the beautiful party", said Cláudio Roberto, right after the award, revealing also that he is going to set up a very special space at home.
"During all these years, I have never had the courage to put together a medal board. I have many medals, but one was missing. If this Olympic silver medal didn't come, I would never make a board. Now that it has arrived, I am going to provide it with a very special place at home," he added.
In Sydney 2000, Cláudio Roberto competed in the 4x100m qualifiers in place of Claudinei Quirino, but due to an error in the organization of the Games, he returned to Brazil without the medal. On that occasion, the COB contacted the International Olympic Committee (IOC), but was unable to reverse the situation.
Last year, after a meeting between Cláudio and the COB vice-president, Marco La Porta, in Teresina (PI), the entity decided to make another consultation with the IOC, sending a series of tests and documents, and the response was positive.
"We need to emphasize Cláudio Roberto's posture throughout this period. His conduct was impeccable, despite the injustice committed. He carries with him all the Olympic values. It is a great pleasure to be here, next to this historic 4x100m relay, taking part in the handing over of this medal that is rightfully yours", said the COB general director, Rogério Sampaio.
"This ceremony does justice to one of the country's great sprinters and values the Brazilian sports memory. As an IOC member, I was very pleased to see justice being done," said Bernard Rajzman, volleyball Olympic vice-champion at Los Angeles 1984, responsible for presenting the medal to Cláudio Roberto.
One of the most enthusiastic about Cláudio Roberto's recognition was André Domingos. In 2016, he presented his friend with a replica of the Sydney medal. Now, with the original on Cláudio's chest, the replica went to the IOC Olympic Museum in Lausanne (Switzerland).
"Cláudio was an athlete who helped us climb the podium, who ran the qualifiers, and who had not received his medal. This Sunday, all this fell to the ground and justice was done", celebrated André, who competed in four editions of the Games and, besides silver in 2000, was bronze in the 4x100m in Atlanta 1996.
Remember the 4x100m performance in Sydney 2000
The Brazilian relay was composed of six members: Vicente Lenilson, Edson Luciano, André Domingos, Claudinei Quirino, Cláudio Roberto, and Raphael Oliveira, the latter was a substitute and did not compete in the Games.
In the qualifiers, Vicente, Edson, André, and Cláudio won the second series, with a time of 38s32. In the semifinals, Claudinei took Cláudio's place, and Brazil advanced to the final with the third best time overall of 38s17. And, in the final, with the repetition of the previous phase's quartet, the team made 37s90, winning the silver medal, behind only the USA.