Rafaela Silva took care of some unfinished business last night. After failing in the London Olympics and suffering insults such as “monkey,” the Brazilian Judoka who was raised in the favelas proved that she is the greatest and won the first Olympic gold of the hosting country: “They mocked me; I showed everyone who I am. This medal is an appropriate answer to all the racists.”

Gold for Judoka who touched Brazil

Gold for Judoka who touched Brazil Photo Credit: Reuters/Channel 2 News

Although Israel missed an opportunity last night (Monday) to win its first medal in Rio, Brazil’s Judoka Rafaela Silva made real history on the mat and stepped onto the podium as an Olympic champion.  

She ended the London Olympics with disappointment, after which she suffered a barrage of insults on social media, where she was called a “monkey” and told that she needs to be placed in a cage. Yesterday, with the whole nation behind her back, she won the first Gold medal for Brazil in the Judo tournament of the 57 kg weight division.

After the sensational win, Silva told journalists that this was an appropriate answer to all the people who humiliated her. “People mocked me but I showed everyone that my place belongs in the Judo ring,” said the 24 year old who was born in the known favelas of Brazil and raised in poverty. “This medal will silence all the racist voices.” 

Silva is ecstatic after the victory

Silva is ecstatic after the victory Photo Credit: Reuters/Channel 2 News

After beating her Mongolian opponent who is ranked first in the world in a Waza-ari maneuver, Silva said that she intends to use the win in order to encourage kids who came from similar backgrounds such as herself: “This is an inspiration for those kids who just saw the Judo fights and witnessed someone like me win gold,” said the excited Silva. The person who signed her up to Judo at the age of 5 was her father, who wanted to keep her away from crime and drugs in her neighborhood.

“If the kids have a dream, they need to go out and fulfill it,” she said in the Judo hall as the crowds cheered her name. “I dedicate this medal to them, to the Brazilian nation, to my family, and my friends.  The crowd really helped me since my failure in London; I was thinking about quitting. I said to myself that I can’t disappoint all those people who came to see me.”