After returning to competition earlier this month, Olympic Champion Cesar Cielo has expressed uncertainty surrounding his potential Tokyo 2020 qualification bid. He raced for the first time since May at the Swimmeeting Sudtirol (Nov 2nd+3rd) in Bolzano, Italy, as well as the following weekend in Genoa at the 46th Nico Sapio Trophy meet. He placed 4th in the 50m freestyle at Nico Sapio (21.87), as well as finishing 3rd in Bolzano the week previous in a time of 22.16.
Before racing in Italy, Cielo spoke to Gauchazh (GZH) about his future in the sport and whether or not he’ll be going for his 3rd Olympics. “I haven’t decided yet. Being a professional athlete in the US is not easy. You have to pay for everything. I am pondering whether it is worth doing all over again for a dream I have already achieved”.
Cielo’s business ventures and changed family dynamic means he now has more factors to consider in his decision. “The family always accompanied me. Despite the difficulties with logistics, they have always travelled with me. What I am evaluating now is a much more rational than emotional question. Emotionally, I am a competitor. Rationally, it’s a decision that involves a lot more things today, at a much different time in my career than when I was 18, going to college out there”.
Cielo added that he hasn’t given himself a deadline to make his decision by, “I can’t make a decision because I’m weighing a lot and no decision makes me 100% satisfied or sad. I know this is an impactful decision for my career and for my life, so I am taking the time”. The Brazilian qualifying selection will take place at the Maria Lenk Trophy meet from April 20th-25th next year. Two swimmers in each event are eligible for qualification. As Cielo finished 3rd in the 50m freestyle at the same event in 2016, he failed to qualify for Rio that summer.
Cielo has had a very decorated career and is widely considered Brazil’s most successful swimmer, winning his first Olympic gold medal (50m freestyle) – and Brazil’s only gold in swimming to date – when he was 21-years-old. The now 32-year-old has a total of 3 Olympic medals (1 gold, 2 bronze), 6 individual World Championship medals and holds the current World Records in the LCM 50m freestyle (20.91) and the 100m freestyle (46.91).