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.”