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Marcus Vinicius D'Almeida in action |©
Marcus Vinicius D'Almeida in action |©

Brazil's Rising Stars In The 2016 Rio Olympics

Picture of Sarah Brown
Updated: 3 January 2017
As host of the 2016 Summer Olympics and Paralympics, all eyes are on Brazil to see how it will rise to the extraordinary challenge. However, sporting fans will have their eyes fixed on the most exciting new stars in Brazil, as they seek to win medals for their country. From archery to football, we take a look at the Brazilian athletes worth watching.


Marcus Vinicius D’Almeida

Dubbed the “Neymar of Archery,” Vinicius is Brazil’s greatest hope for a medal in archery. His talent was recognized in 2014 when he won second place, by one arrow, in the archery World Cup final at just 16 years old. To date, he has won the silver medal at the Nanjing Youth Olympics in 2014 and three gold medals in the South American Games in Santiago in 2014. The archery competition in Rio will be exciting in both individual and team rounds.

Gabriel Barbosa

Gabriel Barbosa, known as Gabigol, has an exceptional record for someone so young. Following his impressive debut for the senior team at the Copa America, the footballer was selected for the Brazilian men’s team at this year’s Olympics, and he now has Chelsea keen to potentially sign him, too. Currently, the 19-year-old plays for Santos and has been dubbed “the next Neymar” by the press, due to his talent and natural skill as a footballer. His Olympic appearance has become a much-anticipated event in the media, and he is expected to be an important asset in the Games this year.

Matheus Santana

Matheus Santana is the Brazilian star in swimming this year and is expected to give a winning performance at the Olympics. This 20-years-old has already won a silver medal at the 2014 Youth Olympics in Nanjing, and he has broken the junior world record in the 100 meter freestyle four times, all while continuing to refine his skills. In this year’s Olympics, Santana will compete in the 100 meter freestyle.

Gabriel Jesus

Given Brazil’s international football ranking, it comes as little surprise that one of the rising stars of Brazil’s Olympic team is another footballer. At 15 years old, Jesus finished as a top scorer in the Junior Copa Sao Paulo, a competition renowned for recognizing potential top players. Now, at the age of 19, Jesus will compete with the men’s football team for Brazil. He is considered an exciting attack player, with the media comparing him to the legendary Brazilian footballer Ronaldinho. Jesus has already received contract offers from abroad, with interest coming from large international clubs such as Manchester United, Barcelona, and Real Madrid. For now, he continues to play for the Brazilian national team Palmeiras.

Flavia Lopes Saraiva

Rising star Saraiva is Brazil’s main hope of getting placed on the Rio de Janeiro podium in artistic gymnastics. At only 16 years old, Saraiva already has a strong track record as an artistic gymnast. In 2013 at Gymnasiade, a competition held in Brazil, she won two gold medals in floor exercise and balance beam, and she also took the silver medal with her team. In the 2014 Summer Youth Olympics in Nanjing, China, she qualified for the all-around and the floor finals and beam. She won a medal in all of them, including a silver in the all-around and a gold in floor.

Sarah Menezes

Menezes made history as the first Brazilian woman ever to win a gold medal in judo. She won gold in the 48 kilogram category in the London Summer Olympics in 2012 by defeating the reigning champion Alina Dumitru from Romania. She is expected to perform to medal standards again this year and bring in another medal for Brazil. The first major medal she won was a bronze at the World Judo Championships in Tokyo in September 2010. At just 26 years old, she is clearly a rising star in the world of judo.