We got the chance to speak with World Record holder and sprinting legend Cesar Cielo this weekend at the Arena Pro Swim. He was talking about expectations for the Rio Olympics as a Brazilian, but then said something that was very surprising.
Cielo admitted that of all the international medals he has won over the years, his very first olympic medal, a tie for bronze in the 100 free with Jason Lezak at the 2008 Beijing olympics, was the most meaningful to him, even more so than the individual gold he won in the 50 free later that meet. Cesar feels that winning that medal was what separates his career from amateur to professional; the thing that symbolizes his swimming transformation from boy to man.
Cielo comments that he was having a bad meet before that race, but winning that bronze completely shifted his momentum, and gave him the confidence he needed later in the meet to go on and capture gold.