I never want to hear Brazil say sorry for their sport

Victoria Pendleton

It has been an amazing few days for British fans of cycling at the Olympics. Bradley Wiggins, winner of this year’s Tour de France two weeks ago decimated the field with his win in the time trial at Hampton Court Palace, and this was followed up with a bag of gold medals at the velodrome.

Bradley Wiggins

Great Britain’s men’s pursuit team

The impact on the British public has been huge. At an Olympics where the Great British Public have been turned away from the stadiums which remain full of empty VIP seats, it was great to see the huge turnout for the free time trial around Hampton Court. Brits have always loved their bikes, but with so many biking heroes, not just on the road or on the track, but off road in mountain biking too, the investment in the sport is now showing dividends with cycling being more popular than ever before.

The Brazilian womens volleyball team

In the Robinson household there has of course been great excitement, especially watching the Brazilian volley ball teams of which Maria is a great supporter. However, while Team GB have been surging up the table, and are now as I write 4th in the medal tables, Brazil is down in 21st position, with one gold, one silver and four bronze medals in total.

Arthur Zanetti wins a gold medal for Brazil, 6th August 2012

It is therefore that bang in the middle of the Olympics that I discovered this desperately sad and emotional video, narrated by Professor Ronaldo Pacheco, who was moved to write his words after seeing Brazilian athletes apologise to Brazil for not winning more medals.

In this video, which you should watch even if you do not speak Portuguese, you will hear each point start with the word desculpem which means sorry. At the bottom of this blog is a transcript of the video in Portuguese, and you can use Google or another translator to translate it into your own language.

There are so many things that Professor Pacheco says sorry for. Sorry for the lack of investment, the corruption taking money away, the lack of facilities, the violence on the streets which mean children can not play freely and exercise, the politicians who only use sport for their own marketing, the poverty which means parents can not afford the transportation, equipment and facilities fees. The text was written in 2008 and so there is also a sorry for thinking thinking about organising a Brazilian Olympics when they have not managed to “organise our ministries, our secretaries, our associations, our sport law”.

Transition Consciousness is not just about sustainability in the ecological sense of the word. It is about sustainability, resilience, achievement, new thinking and human values, and of course sporting heroes can be some of the most inspirational people on the planet given the desperate failure of politicians around the world.

But I would love everyone in Brazil now to stop saying sorry, to stop feeling so inferior to the rest of the world, and to really understand that now is the time for grassroots movements to make their mark in the country. I have said this before, but I am seeing many amateur cycling groups begin to have an impact on the thinking of politicians, on the creation of safe and secure bicycle lanes in cities and towns, and on helping transform the Brazilian consciousness from one of seeing bicycles as a poor person’s transport to be ashamed about, to the British view of cycling which is sexy, sporty, utilitarian and insanely fun.

Me cycling at Dalbeattie, Galloway, Scotland

No Brazil, it kills me to hear you apologise. Christ knows we in the UK have some hideous problems with some terrible politicians, but we love our bikes. I know more and more Brazilians are discovering this with the help of all the fantastic cycling groups that I am aware of, and I can’t wait to see these grow and grow over the coming years. And who knows, with a bit of positive thinking maybe one day we will start to see some Olympic medals around proud Brazilian necks below heads standing tall in triumph.

Brazil’s Sarah Menezes

Desculpas ao esporte e aos atletas Brasileiros

Desculpem pela falta de espaços esportivos nas escolas;

Pela falta de professores de educação física nas séries iniciais;

Pelas escolinhas mercantilizadas que buscam quantidade de clientes e não qualidade de aprendizagem;

Desculpem pela falta de incentivo na base;

Desculpem pela falta de praças esportivas;

Desculpem pelo discurso de que “o esporte serve para tirar a criança da rua” (é muito pouco se for só isso!);

Desculpem pela violência nas ruas que impede jovens de brincar livremente, tirando deles a oportunidade de vivenciar experiências motoras;

Desculpem se muito cedo lhe tiraram o “esporte-brincadeira” e lhe impuseram o “esporte-profissão”;

Desculpem pelo investimento apenas na fase adulta quando já conseguiram provar que valia a pena;

Desculpem pelas centenas de talentos desperdiçados por não terem condições mínimas de pagar um transporte para ir ao treino, de se alimentar adequadamente, ou de pagar um “exame de faixa”;

Desculpem por não permitirmos que estudem para poder se dedicar integralmente aos treinos.

Desculpem pelo sacrifício imposto aos seus pais que dedicaram seus poucos recursos para investir em algo que deveria ser oferecido gratuitamente;

Desculpem levá-los a acreditar que o esporte é uma das poucas maneiras de ascensão social para a classe menos favorecida no nosso país

Desculpem pela incompetência dos nossos dirigentes esportivos;

Desculpem pelos dirigentes que se eternizam no poder sem apresentar novas propostas; Desculpem pelos dirigentes que desviam verbas em benefício próprio;

Desculpem pela falta de uma política nacional voltada para o esporte;

Desculpem por só nos preocuparmos com leis voltadas para o futebol (Lei Zico, Lei Pelé, etc.);

Desculpem se a única lei que conhecem ligada ao esporte é a “Lei do Gérson” (coitado do Gérson);

Desculpem pelos secretários de esporte de “ocasião”, cujas escolhas visam atender apenas, promessas de ocupação de espaços político-partidários (e com pouca verba no orçamento);

Desculpem pelos políticos que os recebem antes ou após grandes feitos (apenas os vencedores) para usá-los como instrumento de marketing político;

Desculpem por pensar em organizar “Olimpíadas” se ainda não conseguimos organizar nossos ministérios; nossas secretarias, nossas federações, nossa legislação esportiva;

Desculpem por forçá-los, contra a vontade, a se “exilarem” no exterior caso pretendem se aprimorar no esporte;

Desculpem pela cobrança indevida de parte da imprensa que pouco conhece e opina pelo senso comum.

Desculpem o povo brasileiro carente de ídolos e líderes por depositar em vocês toda a sua esperança;

Desculpem pela nossa paixão pelo esporte, que como toda paixão, nem sempre é baseada na razão;

Desculpem por levá-los do céu ao inferno em cada competição, pela expectativa criada;

Desculpem pelo rápido esquecimento quando partimos em busca de novos ídolos;

Desculpem pelas lágrimas na derrota, ou na vitória, pois é a forma que temos para extravasar o inexplicável orgulho de ser brasileiro e de, apesar de tudo, acreditar que um dia ainda estaremos entre os grandes.

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10 responses to “I never want to hear Brazil say sorry for their sport

  1. Great post as always, Simon! Yes, you’re totally right! As a 28 year old Brazilian, I’m also tired of Brazilians saying sorry and complaining. About everything. We’re just as great as any other nation in the world. Nations are made by people. We have great and creative people, the only thing that we need is to be more confident and positive. We have to rescue Brazilian self-esteem 🙂 Thanks for your words.

    • Thanks Carol – now that I am on my way to Brzilian citizenship, I want to be supporting Brazilian cyclists too! I am glad you like this blog – I am trying to find my voice in such a way that is not critical, only ever supportive, positive and uplifting at all times : )

  2. Andrea Rezemini. I really appreciated your article and agree with you. There is no good results if you stay complaining about everything or waiting for some assistance that may or may not happen. Brazil has many talented people who need to find your inner strength and do your best to overcome obstacles.

    • Oi Andrea – Thanks – As I am still learning Portuguese so I may have misunderstood the video. My interpretation is that it is aimed at the critics of the athletes. It is funny as the UK press have been praising our own athletes for winning so many medals when up against such huge sporting giants as Brazil. This is our British view of the brilliant Brazil, but the reality here is quite different. I am planning to write a new article soon about self-esteem in Brazilian schools, so hopefully that will be interesting and positive too : )

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