Cielo’s ’08 Beijing Bronze “Better than winning” (Video Interview)

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.

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No talk about his weak meeting?He told he was feeling without muscle explosion after his events.It is a bit of a worry, because Maria Lenk Trophy will be happening in 39 days…


I always forget that Cielo tied with Lezak for the bronze in that race. I tend to think of that race as Bernard vs Sullivan, the two who kept trading the WR, and then Lezak finally winning an individual medal.


He is hedging his bets / re-living his glory days because he knows he won’t make the team in either the 50 or 100 individual events.

The greats are usually the last ones to know when to retire.

About Coleman Hodges

Coleman Hodges

Coleman started his journey in the water at age 1, and although he actually has no memory of that, something must have stuck. A Missouri native, he joined the Columbia Swim Club at age 9, where he is still remembered for his stylish dragon swim trunks. After giving up on …

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