Rio Diary : "How much does a medal weigh?"

The Fernanda who came to Rio de Janeiro is not the same as the one who will go back to São Paulo. Why?

Fernanda Lagoerio
Fernanda Lagoerio, aus Sao Paolo, Mitglied der Redaktion der Paralympics Zeitung Rio de Janeiro 2016.
Fernanda Lagoerio, aus Sao Paolo, Mitglied der Redaktion der Paralympics Zeitung Rio de Janeiro 2016.Foto: Thilo Rückeis

A Paralympic medal weighs about 500 grams. But for each person it has a different weight - and meaning. For the athletes, the weight of the medal represents the goals, results and psychological pressure, but mainly the weight of the achievements. For Martin Schulz, for example, the gold medal has also a historical weight: it was the first one of the triathlon’s history!  
"Can I please put on your medal?" I asked Martin. He nodded like he didn’t have any problem. At that time, I felt the literal weight of the coin (because it's really heavy!), but the truth is that, for me, the medal has the real weight of responsibility. The responsibility that I had to "compete at home"; to prepare myself for these Paralympics and to reach my goals to bring good results. But especially the goals I have in life and in the journalism profession there is the responsibility to bring information to people and make them understand the importance of big events like this.           
Here in Rio I met new Brazilian talents and had the honor of watching a medal ceremony with our anthem, when Daniel Dias won gold in the 100 meters swimming competition. But, at the same time, I felt the weight that the medal would have for athletes of Cyprus, Burkina Faso, Laos- and many other countries that are not so well known.every time they felt honored to be interviewed for the first time and proud to have the opportunity to represent their countries.

Just priceless  

I felt the weight of responsibility every time a volunteer wondered "...if I was not too young to be a journalist." But it makes me feel grateful for every second that I have spent in each competition, at the same time to learn from my teammates and with athletes and people I interview.          
In total, I have watched about ten sports so far - and in each of them, I broke a different stereotype. Here in the Paralympics, football is cool, but have you ever watched a Boccia game? Have you ever seen a crowded stadium moved by such a powerful energy of the audience in a wheelchair basketball game? Or even in the athletics? That is what happens here.          
Anyway, I have to say that; first, my medal has the weight of information. Being able to explore the Olympic Park, to be free to write, tell different stories, meet journalists of different parts of the world with different points of view – every single thing is priceless.         
I am really happy to see good results of the athletes and the people who are reporting more and more about sports, and almost all the tickets to watch the Games have been sold!. In a fencing duel, although the stands may not be crowded, a woman came to ask me to explain how the sport worked, and at that moment I felt happy for the interest in watching a sport that is not as common here, and to see the athletes from other countries on a Monday morning.           

What a rush

Here, the rush is immense – we have to be organized even to sleep well. But when the fatigue hits me, I substitute it for the gratitude to be here and to live this experience. During these days, the reality of journalism has opened new doors for me. Happiness and hope no longer fit in the heart, and neither in the number of characters I have to write about. The Fernanda who came to Rio de Janeiro is not the same as the one who will go back to São Paulo after the Paralympic Games. Now she is more ambitious: she wants to seek new podiums and feel the weight of silver medals and bronze ones too!

Brazilian Fernanda Lagoerio wrote this text in English herself

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