Ada do Santos is honored at the Caminho Niemeyer in Nidaoy – (Photo: Wilton Jr./Estadau)
In the 1964 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan, Rio de Janeiro’s athlete Iida dos Santos finished fourth in the high jump. She competed without a coach, uniform, proper tennis and interpreter. She was the only woman in a delegation of 68 athletes. Nearly 60 years later, the Olympic history of a poor black woman from Netroi (RJ) is associated with the fight against racism and the quest for gender equality, from the pages of history to present day life.
In 32 years, Ada won an athlete’s best in the Olympics. His mark was surpassed only at the 1996 Atlanta Games in the United States. Aida’s achievement is being revisited due to a new Olympics held in Tokyo. The 1964 Games were the last in the Japanese capital. A new version was scheduled for July, but was postponed due to the new coronovirus epidemic. The new opening ceremony will take place on 23 July next year.
Two months ago, the 83-year-old former athlete won a tribute in the city where she was born. On the anniversary of her memorable leap, Ada won a 30-meter mural on the Nemear Way, created by artist Marcello LaMarca. At the inauguration, he said that he had a habit of stepping foot among the greatest players in the country’s history.
The trajectory of Ada (the correct pronunciation is Ada) became a film. In the 2012 documentary “Ida dos Santos – a claw woman” directed by Andre Pupo and Ricardo Quintella, she had a chance to return to the Japanese capital to return the screenplay of her life. Memories of state champions, Brazil, South American and Pan American high jump are Bitwatch.
“I have good memories of participating in the Olympics, but sadly because I was alone in the delegation in Tokyo, without a coach, without any form, without material to compete. I cried a lot, I was always crying. But I had to represent my country. ” , said.
Difficulties started before the competition. After reaching the Olympic trophy, leaping 1.65 meters into the Brazil trophy, the athlete still had to go through five more qualifiers to confirm the brand. It is difficult to imagine an athlete alone in an international tournament, but Ada experienced a similar experience at the first Olympics on the Asian continent.
Without understanding English or Japanese, he filled out the registration form in the Olympic Village with only his name and date of birth. This is because the Japanese officer sang “Congratulations to you” for indicating the necessary information. Ada trained alone as she had no coach. In his spare time, he rode a bicycle. Even after that, he had no peace. The comrade in the delegation stated that he was a “tourist”. In Tokyo, she was the only woman among 68 men. When she was not training or cycling, Ada was crying. “I saw other girls with two or three coaches: running, where jumping and finishing finishing. And I had none”.
At the stadium, he mimicked other contestants to find a preparation ground at the National Stadium. Wherever they went, Aida followed. He also did not have a suitable nail sneaker for the game. He was to compete with 100-meter shoes borrowed from a supplier. It was instantaneous that tennis or barefoot competition.
To reach the finals, she needed to jump 1.70 meters, an unprecedented mark in her career. His personal record was 1.68 meters. Even Purna resigned from the stadium, he did so. He qualified for the finals, but he twisted his leg. “I expected that in Brazil I was used to jumping in a sand hole. There was no mattress. When we use a finer material, we are also weird.”
At the time of the injury, she used to ask for the help of crowded bleachers for the Brazilian flag. No one was found. It was a Cuban doctor who helped him with a bandage boot. It sounds like fantasy, but everything is reality. In the final, another success. Even injured, he jumped 1.74m, a South American record. He came in fourth, a few millimeters behind a Romanian, an Australian and a Russian. And she only came to know about the historical result later, when she left the stadium. “I didn’t know if I was fourth, fifth or sixth. It was gratifying. It was with determination, faith, will and love for Brazil.”
On October 16, 1964, Estadou wrote: “Ada, who went without any excuse other than to learn, as she said, surprised the most optimistic pathogens”. In the following excerpt, the newspaper states that “Ada dos Santos’ performance deserves the most praise, as she can be described without exaggeration, as one of Brazil’s greatest athletes”.
Upon returning to the country, Ada was a celebrity. A battalion of photographers awaited his training at the club’s Botafogo, where he trained. Angered, he dismissed the parade in a fire brigade carriage offered by the authorities. “I needed support first. It wasn’t a matter of later,” he replied.
The result was so impressive that it resulted in an invitation to train in the United States. The American technician came to test how he trained, eventually beating the contestant there. He was surprised. The baton was a water pipe. There was no mattress. After the jump, he fell into a sand hole. The family did not let him travel. The father, a brickmaker, was against it and said that the medal did not fill anyone’s stomach. The mother, the washerwoman, was worried that she would do the housework. Aida was the youngest of six brothers, who lived in a house without power in Morro do Arzo, Nitrai slum.
With her three children, Ada did the exact opposite: she hired them all to play the game. It worked. She is the mother of the volleyball player, Valeska Menezes, Welleskinha, champion at the 2008 Beijing Games. The duo held the Olympic torch in Rio de Janeiro in 2016. Prior to the conquest of China, Welleskin also won a fourth place, the same place in 2004. Today, the daughter plays and usually says she beat her mother for winning a medal. Ada replies: “My game is personal”, he smiled.
Brazil’s campus in Tokyo – Aida’s fourth place in the high jump at the 1964 Games was one of Brazil’s best results. Bronze medal with only men’s basketball, above Carioca’s jump. This was the third game in history. In the individual show jumping competition, Nelson Pesoa Filho (Rodrigo Pesoa’s father), one of the biggest Brazilian names in the sport, finished fifth.