The Brazil Olympic Committee (COB) has defined the duo responsible for bearing the Brazilian flag at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games Opening Ceremony, next Friday, the 23rd. The judo fighter Ketleyn Quadros, the first Brazilian to win an Olympic medal in individual sports, bronze in the lightweight category in Beijing 2008, and Bruninho, Olympic volleyball champion at Rio 2016, will bear the yellow-green pavilion together.
“This is the largest Brazilian delegation in an edition of the Olympic Games outside the country. And nothing could be more fitting than honoring great representatives of two of the modalities that have given the most Olympic medals to Brazil. Ketleyn is a pioneer in judo, she paved the way for an extremely victorious generation with Sarah Menezes, Mayra Aguiar, and Rafaela Silva to name just a few. She has always been a model of judo professional and values. Despite being the son of two of the greatest in his sport, Bruninho managed to go his own path, winning three Olympic medals, a feat for few, and he can still be proud of being the captain in a gold campaign. With them, we maintain the tradition of privileging respect, excellence, and meritocracy, and I have no doubts that the two represented the country very well at the opening of the Games”, said COB president Paulo Wanderley Teixeira.
Ketleyn Lima Quadros was enrolled by her mother in swimming, but she skiped classes to attend judo training. After so much insisting, she ended up starting to practice the modality. To qualify for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, she saw her main competitor for the spot, Danielle Zangrando, get injured and didn't let the opportunity pass. After being out of the Games for two Olympic cycles, she returned to competition 13 years after her medal and received the honor of being the third woman in history (after Sandra Pires, in 2000, and Yane Marques, in 2016) and also third judo fighter (after Walter Carmona, in Seoul 1988, and Aurélio Miguel, in Barcelona 1992) to bear the Brazilian flag.
“I keep getting emotional all the time. The achievements are consequences of those who believe, who build despite adversities, much dedication, much training, the work of many people. I look at my career and see that not having participated in the last two Olympic Games helped me to grow, evolve, and be here. I am very grateful and feel privileged to represent all Brazilians as a flag-bearer,” said Ketleyn, who has 33 medals in events on the International Judo Federation World Circuit.
“I am 33 years old and have a life in the sport. I don't say that with a burden, I love what I do. I think a movie will play in my head when I get there and know that everything I went through was worth it”, she added.
Bruninho, son of former players Vera Mossa and Bernardinho, emerged in volleyball playing for the Florianópolis team. In 2007, he was the champion of the Pan American Games in Rio and never left the Brazilian team. Even facing suspicion for being the son of the then coach, he achieved one of the most victorious careers in world volleyball, with three Olympic medals and captain of the gold campaign at Rio 2016. He will be the first volleyball representative to have this distinction.
“I am a mere representative of what volleyball means not only for the sport but for the Brazilian people. The values that previous generations left of dedication, struggle, determination, and overcoming are what I take with me and I feel very honored. Being the first is a source of great pride and fruit of this legacy. May all feel represented. After I found out, I only told some very close people, including my father, a person who always guided me, who was very important in my career, first as a player, being part of a pioneer generation, then as a coach of the most victorious generation in history, which culminated in the Olympic gold of resilience. Representing everyone in the greatest moment of world sport, I don't even know what to say, only at the time we'll feel this emotion, and it will be a very important moment”, said Bruninho.
Ketleyn will compete in the legendary Nippon Budokan on the 27th, while Bruninho will make his debut with the national team on the 24th, at Ariake Arena, against Tunisia.
“We will be the flag-bearer and the master of ceremonies”, completed Bruninho. A nice comparison for those who will represent the country of samba.