Sarah Menezes [BRA] relives her London 2012 Judo gold
My expectations for the London Olympic Games was to be on the podium. Brazil is very demanding, they like a medal and they always want to see gold. The Romanian athlete was more experienced, she had won the gold medal in the Olympics. She had been in other Olympics and had won medals. I knew that she was a strong athlete, but I had the knowledge and I knew that it was possible for me to get the gold medal. Myself as an athlete, I didn’t have the habit of talking much with my coach. The only thing that I always asked her was to give me motivation during the fights. The beginning of the fights, in my point of view, is a lot of study. Without thinking the athlete is reading the referee, is reading the opponent. There is a strategy during the fight that will depend on the adversary, the way you hold to have an initiative and a defence. It varies a lot. After the score I got even more confident, and in that moment I said to myself that I couldn’t stop, I had to keep going and pressure more. She was more tense and nervous as she was already losing. She had to go more on top and so to stop her getting on top of me I had to try even more. In the last seconds, when I was able to do my last attack, when I saw that the time was running out, I gave continuity to the floor, which is when I hold her. Just to pass the time, I was trying to get the arm, the neck, to be sure that the fight was over and that my day was done. When the time ran out I was ecstatic, but at the same time the penny hadn’t dropped yet. Because the competition was so quick. My feelings were all very strange, how relaxed I was in such a grandiose competition and of winning the title. In the final, when I left as the winner I gave a hug to Rosa, the Brazilian team coach. The dream that we all had of winning an Olympic medal, no matter the colour. It meant so much to me because it was a dream come true and conquered. It was a dream to be on the Olympic podium. But it was something that it will be marked in my life, in my effort and in my work, as a person and as an athlete, which I’m going to bring with me for the rest of my life.