Aída dos Santos: An athlete to know

Aída dos Santos is a high jumper and pentathlete to know.

Aída dos Santos: An athlete to know

Aída dos Santos is a high jumper and pentathlete who competed for Brazil in the 1964 and 1968 Olympic Games.

During the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, she became the first Brazilian woman to compete in an Olympics final.

She was the only woman competing for Brazil that year, and and she qualified in the high jump. She was not provided guidance, an interpreter, a coach or a uniform to compete.

She also said the head of the Brazilian federation told her that she wouldn't make it to the final. She finished in fourth place.

“Later, I reached the conclusion that it all happened because I was a Black woman. It’s the only explanation,” she said. “The Olympics are beautiful, great, but for me were also sad, because there were days that I cried all the time.”

She said she cried and rode her bicycle.

She started out playing volleyball before switching to athletics, or track and field, and competing in the high jump. She said she lied to her father in order to compete, because sports didn’t earn her any money. Eventually she joined a team, but her gave her money for driving and expenses.

“Athletics is still the poor cousin of national sport, imagine what it was like in those times," she said. "Me, a woman, poor and black."

Aída dos Santos won bronze at the 1967 and 1971 Pan American Games Pentathlon. She finished fifth in the high jump in both the 1963 and 1967 Pan American Games. In the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City, she competed in the Pentathlon, finishing 20th in the world.

Learn more about Aída dos Santos:

Her Instagram (she’s living her best life)

How Aída dos Santos became the first Brazilian Olympic finalist (in Portuguese)

The epic of Aída (can auto translate)

Aída dos Santos, Uma mulher de garra (in Portuguese)

Aida dos Santos - Tokyo Memories (has English subtitles)

Aida dos Santos, pioneer of Brazilian sport, turns 85 (can auto translate)