Hosting the Olympics Games generally means winning more medals. But hosts faced disappointing results in judo, tennis, archery and swimming, a first Olympic without a medal since 2004, and will most likely miss its medal target.
After a great show at London 2012 with a medal tally of 17, Team Brazil set their eyes on a top 10 finish amongst the medal winning nations. But with an underwhelming performance resulting in only four medals in the first week at Rio – one gold, one silver and two bronze, the Brazilian athletes will need to step up their performances to have a competitive medal tally. At the 2012 Games, Italy finished 10th with a medal count of 28.
Brazil’s greatest disappointment was in judo where they earned only three medals. Despite a gold for Rafaela Silva, they could not surpass they performance of four medals in London. Sarah Menezes, the 2012 champion, Erica Miranda, Tiago Camilo and Felipe Kitadai failed to perform at Rio 2016 in judo.
“We could have contributed with more medals, we had this potential,” said Ney Wilson, an official at Brazil’s Judo Confederation.
Their expectations for swimming were lower, given that former Olympic champion Cesar Cielo failed to qualify, but the hosts did not expect to go back empty handed from the pool.
The top hopes for Brazil at the start of the competition were Thiago Pereira, silver medalist in the 400 metres medley in London, and Bruno Fratus. Neither of them set a personal best in their divisions and failed to bag a medal. Brazil, which has won swimming medals at every Games since Athens in 2004, has two more heats pending, but does not expect a medal in either.
Aside from the area of sports, in which it usually excels, Brazil also had aims of claiming a podium spot in canoeing, tennis and archery but has failed so far after 18-year-old archer Marcus D’Almeida was eliminated. The tennis court was also a letdown, when doubles favorites Marcelo Melo and Bruno Soares were eliminated.
Brazil’s first medal came as a surprise when shooter Felipe Wu bagged silver. The hosts hope to make it to the podium in men’s water polo and marathon swimming events.
Despite a crushing loss in double overtime to arch rival Argentina in basketball on August 13, Brazil is still in the race for several team sports, like beach and regular volleyball, handball and soccer. It is also guaranteed at least a bronze in boxing, and has hopes for a medal in sailing.