Popov Teases, “Cielo Who?” On Brazilian’s Departure From Kazan

In a move described as “stunning” at the time by his teammates, Brazilian sprinting ace Cesar Cielo left the 2015 World Championships mid-competition due to his nagging shoulder issues.  After finishing 6th in the men’s 50m butterfly earlier in the meet, Cielo’s departure rendered the Olympic gold medalist out of the 50m freestyle individual event, as well as the men’s 4x100m medley relay.  According to Dr. Gustavo Magliocca, Cielo will now be taking a three-month rehabiliatory break from swimming, both practices and competition.

Also in the aftermath of the meet, Director of the Brazilian Confederation of Water Sports (CBDA), Ricardo de Moura, says that Cielo’s actions will be evaluated ‘under a magnifying glass’.  “The issue of Cielo will be treated individually from all points of view. First, let’s hear it. Let’s do the overall assessment and then take care of the Cielo. He’s an important guy for the team.”

Cielo has come under mild fire as of late, for his separation from the rest of the Brazilian national team, whether perceived or actual. For instance, in Russia, Cielo roomed alone in the athletes’ village, while the rest of the Brazilians shared residence. Cielo was also the only member of the Brazilian team not present at their Worlds staging camp in Rio Major, Portugal. Instead, he and his coach, Arilson Silva, traveled directly to France where Cielo competed in the French Open before final preparations in Eindhoven.

With the World Championships having taken place in Kazan, Russian sprint legend Alexander Popov was recently asked to comment on what some call Cielo’s ‘prima donna-ish’ behavior. After teasingly asking, “Cielo who?”, Popov went on to say, “I’ve a great friend in Brazil, Gustavo Borges. He has class. I always compare other Brazilian swimmers to him. In my opinion, Cesar Cielo is not at the same level Gustavo is, personality wise, as a swimmer.”

Popov is certainly a man not immune to seeing a range of personalities at the international competitive level, as the Russian Olympian was the only man to have won Olympic gold in both the 50m freestyle and 100m freestyle events in consecutive Games, having accomplished the feat in 1992 Barcelona and 1996 Atlanta.

Popov continued to say that, with respect to competitors and other things, Gustavo is a ‘fantastic ambassador’ for Brazilian sport, while Cielo appears to be in it more for the benefit of just himself.  For instance, regarding Cielo’s injury, Popov asked rhetorically, “Why did he come [to Kazan] if he had a shoulder injury? He could have given his place to any other Brazilian have the chance to compete.”

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bobo gigi

2 DNS for Popov this week at the masters world championships in the 50 free/100 free.
He could have given his place to any other Russian….

masters swimmer

That is a bummer. Those are his signature events. Is he swimming anything else such as relays?

bobo gigi

No idea. I give you the meet start-lists/results link.

bobo gigi

I just wanted to see which times he could swim in his 40-44 age category.

masters swimmer

Thanks Bobo. Popov is a legend. Seems like lots of disappointment in the mens 100 free in Kazan. No Magnussen, Vlad DQ’s, Adrian gets last. So much for the big match up. Now we don’t get to see Popov in the masters meet. Not good for racing fans.


At masters world, there is no limit per country. Each swimmer must only make the cutoff time. Besides, I dont think there was as big a participation at Kazan as there was at Montreal


Alex never even signed up for Masters Words. It was discussed in one of the articles on SwimSwam.
Russian Masters federation did this on purpose, to draw more attention to this meet.


Bobo dearest,

Don’t be silly. That was not THE Alexander Popov


That’s not how Masters works.

bobo gigi

But I agree overall. Looks like Cielo is not the greatest team player after reading the 3rd paragraph.


Any explanation for the Popov no show? That is disappointing.


Popov never planned to compete, its some other guy also named Popov.
I think Popov was in Kazan until Sunday and also was part of some medal ceremonies, it wouldve been a very tough schedule for him, to compete at master world championships only a couple of days later …

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