THE ONE WITH ALL THE EPISODES: 1.01 The Pilot
Olympic Values: Excellence, Respect and Friendship
I’m so proud of my T.V. husband. From the moment I met him, I knew he was going to be, like, the next Brad Pitt. He’s so handsome, so kind, and such a talented actor. There’s just nowhere for him to go except straight to the top. I’m only shocked that it hasn’t happened already. I’m just so excited for the world to see him if they haven’t already. Because he’s brilliant and I love him and now he has rock-hard abs. Which is just a bonus.
It seems like the Internet has a big crush on Chris … do you feel like it is encroaching on your territory at all?
I have major jealousy [issues] but we start shooting Parks and Recreation next week so I am glad to have him all to myself because if anyone tries to get with him, I will destroy them
― Aubrey Plaza on Chris Pratt x
That floor is somewhat sacred. There, with every step, the difficult childhood is left behind. Under the eyes of an entire arena, Rebeca Andrade feels stronger. She likes to compete. And experiences in her own way the feeling of being on stage, just like the singer she is such a fan of. Beyoncé is on posters, in the drawings, the wardrobe, the computer and the phone. She’s on every corner of her house, in the songs that she sings with the approval of the other residents. Not only that, is now a part of her floor routine.
The search for the ideal music ended after a conversation between the team coordinator, Georgette Vidor, and coach Keli Kitaura. It was necessary to find something that motivated Rebeca, to help her get the most out of the code of points- which now requires much more artistry- and that engaged the audience .
“Rebeca sings Beyoncé all day. She’s quite good at dancing and singing (laughs). She asked my mother to make a leotard like Beyoncé’s - to play - and always had the dream of meeting her. So the music had to be hers (Crazy in Love and Single Ladies). Rebeca knows the choreographies and uses parts of them in the routine. The crowd also dances in the gym and that counts in her favor, improves the score and helps her perform with more ease. The first time she competed with the new music was in May. The former one wasn’t very good. Her score has increased a lot in comparison. Before she’d get a 13.900 and now she scores around 14.300 , which is very good”, the coach said.
At age 15, Rebeca is considered a pearl by the Brazilian Gymnastics Confederation (CBG). She is seen as a well-rounded gymnast, has good technique, flexibility and power. Appears as a medal hope for the Rio Olympics in 2016. But what could mean pressure is seen as motivation. Next month, she will be tested at the Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, from 16 to 28 of August. The coaches want to know how she will handle being in a high level competition with an atmosphere similar to the one she should find in two years’ time .
“I think it’s good to hear compliments. It gives you more strength, you can do more. I’m training very, very, very hard and I think I’ll do well. I’m chasing after my dream, fighting for it. Beyoncé followed hers without trampling over others. She is a humble person and this makes her even more special. She serves as a mirror for me. She is one of the six most admired people in the world! I love it that I can have her music in my floor routine. I really wish I had gone to her Rock in Rio concert, but I was competing then. I hope to be there on the next one. I think I’ll be starstruck”.
Rebeca is girlish, but has the sturdness of a grown up. She wants to have a vault named after her on the code of points, like Daiane dos Santos (floor), Diego Hypolito (floor), Sergio Sasaki (parallel bars) and Arthur Zanetti (rings) have. She’s been working on it for some time, but can only submit it in the Olympics or World Championships. And she wants an Olympic medal. Preferably two, vault and all around, and already in 2016.
“I think my dream is close, yes. I have some things to improve, perform new skills on the apparatuses. I’m trying to control my weight, which is torture because I like sweets. I also try to learn from Jade Barbosa’s experience, and I really look up to Mckayla Maroney and Gabby Douglas. I’m trying to do everything Alexandrov (Russian Alexander Alexandrov, Brazil’s head coach who has 15 Olympic medals on his resume) asks me to do. Keli and Chico, my coaches at Flamengo, tell me that he has taken many girls to the podium at the Games. I want to be one of them”.
To achieve this, Rebeca left home early. Even though everything seemed to conspire against her, she persisted and had to count on the generosity of many people. Her mother had no time or money left to invest in the dream. Miss Rosa worked as a maid to support her eight children. They lived in a very humble house on the outskirts of Guarulhos, with only one room where everyone slept, and a bathroom outside.
“It was very difficult. My mother had no money and I kept missing training. She’d be tired from walking to and from work, because she’d give me her money for the bus. My brother then bought a bike and started to take me to the gym, but sometimes it broke. Mom would borrow money so we’d have food. And as there wasn’t money left, we couldn’t buy other things. All the clothes I had came from people I knew who would give them to me” – she recalled.
The breakfast that was left in the gym hall had the right address. But Rebeca still wouldn’t attend to practice regularly. Keli Kitaura saw in that 6 year-old girl too good of a potential to be wasted. So she made a proposition to Rosa. Rebeca would only stay home during the weekends. Only then could Keli make sure that she was going to be in the gym the next day. She lived with an aunt for a while, then with the gymnastics coordinatior. Things went like this for three years. Then the coach moved to Curitiba making a promise: they would work together again.
“As soon as I got a good structure I took her there. People criticized her mother and us for having a child taken away from home so young (she was 8 years old at the time). We decided to invest in her potential and in her dream. We had to fight with God and the world. Afterwards we were hired by Flamengo and she came along. Today she and other nine girls from the team live with me and my husband Francisco Porath in a house in Três Rios. We do not have children yet, but I am a coach and a ‘mother’ in a complicated stage of adolescence”.
Not only in changing behavior. Hormonal changes and in the center of gravity of the body become a concern for athletes. To keep an keen eye on the scale becomes even more imperative.
“She had a lot of weight problems last year. Now everything is more stable, but her body has changed quite a bit. She eats a lot because she didn’t have enough to eat before. But she is controlling herself better, watching her diet. The weight still varies widely, but the most difficult stage is over. Rebeca loves to compete, just not so much to train. She always wants to win. We try to put in her head that workouts are more important than competition. Her medal chances are in 2016. Gymnastics is premature. You have to give your best now because after that it’s another four years. She’s being trained for the all around, vault and also floor”.
Rebeca does not complain. Speaks of Keli and Francisco with affection and respect. Even if she only sees her relatives once a year and eases the distance with phone calls, she doesn’t think twice when replying that everything has been worth it. The dedication has earned her a contract with a telecommunications company and salaries from Bolsa Atleta (Athlete Scolarship), Flamengo and the national team. Her family now lives in a better location.
“Now I can help out at home, and my mother has no more debts. I am very happy. At first I was homesick and it was very hard. I did not want to stay away. Then my mom said that if I thought it was becoming too much to take I could go back home. Only that I liked it here. I now have three brothers who are also doing gymnastics. I do not regret having left so early from their interaction. It is my dream and I want to achieve it. I’m fighting for it. Life is not easy”. (x)
Also watch this video of Rebeca singing Beyoncé (x)