Cesar Cielo‘s career was on the line last year when he failed to make the Olympic Team, but he’s rebounded nicely since then, winning a silver medal at the 2017 FINA World Championships in the 4×100 free relay. Now 30 years old, Cielo has made it clear that he’s very much not retiring, and has made Brazilian headlines for a number of reasons over the past few days. Here’s a roundup of everything you need to know about the state of Cesar Cielo:
- While he’s on the fence about attending the 2018 Pan-Pacific Championships, Cielo is going all-in for the 2018 FINA Short Course World Championships. After taking over half a year off after missing the Olympics, he returned in time to train for Worlds, helping his team to the relay silver. However, he told Brazilian news site Globo Esporte that he believes that silver can become gold in 2018. He also cited mentoring young teammates, namely Gabriel Santos and Luiz Gustavo Borges, as part of his new career goals. “I try to pass everything I know to everyone. I want this generational transition to be natural,” he said (translated from Portuguese).
- Cielo’s “New Cielos” project is thriving in its fifth year. The program, which includes 135 athletes ages 7-21, is expected to surpass 200 members within the next year, and double the number of professional athletes involved. The team took second place at the Paulista Infantil Championships in July, and sent a swimmer to the 2017 FINA World Junior Championships in Indianapolis.
- Despite supporting new management of the Brazilian Confederation of Aquatic Sports (CBDA), Cielo laments the decline of swimming in Brazil. Brazilians failed to medal at the 2016 Olympics, and saw a significant decline in sponsorship money over the past year. Additionally, four longtime CBDA leaders, including head of 30 years Coaracy Nunes, were arrested. “I hope the new management understands the difficulty of all this … But we are happy for the new management, this is unanimous among the athletes,” Cielo said.
It’s unclear whether the greatest Brazilian swimmer in history will swim past 2018, but it’s obvious that Cielo’s roots in the swimming world run deep, regardless of how much longer he’ll continue racing.