Yulimar Rojas thanks Fb algorithm after making historical past in triple soar
Yulimar Rojas became the first Venezuelan Olympic champion in stunning style when she broke the world record in the triple jump for 26-year-old women with her last jump – and then thanked the Facebook algorithm for connecting her to the coach who brought her to stardom would have.
Rojas, who is also a proud lesbian and prominent LGBT activist, jumped 15.67 m, the previous world record of 15.50 m set by Ukrainian Inessa Kravets in Sweden in 1995.
The 25-year-old Rojas, who won two world championship titles and a silver medal in Rio in 2016, honored her trainer, the legendary Cuban long jumper Ivan Pedroso, with whom she linked via Facebook. After her algorithm suggested that they were friends, she wrote to Pedroso how much she admired him. He replied that he had also rated her and then invited her to train with him in Spain.
“It was fate,” she said. “It should happen. I think meeting Ivan on Facebook was definitely a turning point in my life. I just broke a world record and have an Olympic gold medal. That’s priceless. I’m making my dreams come true. ”
Rojas, who originally wanted to become a volleyball player just to find no team in her local sports center in Anzoategui, beat Patricia Mamona from Portugal and her training partner Ana Peleteiro from Spain to silver and bronze respectively.
“I was looking for the world record, I knew we had that distance in our legs to get it,” she said. “I could hear the ‘wow’ from the crowd and Ana scream – I didn’t have to look because my head, my heart, my body already knew it. My trainer screamed and jumped and cheered. It’s incredible!”
When told that she was the first Venezuelan gold medalist, she said, “I think I am opening doors – and not just for me. I also open doors for people who want to achieve great things and write great things for my country. ”
More than 90 minutes after the Italian Gianmarco Tamberi won a joint gold medal in the high jump, he was still celebrating in the empty Tokyo Stadium. After climbing 2.37 meters, the pair, along with Qatar Mutaz Essa Barshim, decided to share first place – something that is allowed in World Athletics rules when tied athletes are lucky not to have a jump-off.
“The judge said, ‘Do you know the rules for the jump-off?'” Said Tamberi. “And then we just hugged.”
Barshim explained his close friendship with Tamberi and how they had helped each other come back from injuries. “He’s one of my best friends, not just on the track, but also off the track. We work together. This is a dream come true. It is the true spirit, the spirit of sport, and we are here to deliver that message. ”
The Italian said he relaxed by playing with 100m gold medalist Marcell Jacobs on PlayStation the night before they both won gold. Tamberi was able to join Jacobs to celebrate the sprinter’s gold just minutes after his own.
In the women’s shot put, the Chinese Gong Lijiao lived up to her pre-Olympic form and won gold with a personal best of 20.58 m. The American Raven Saunders took silver with 19.79 m and later made the first podium protest of the Games. Saunders, who is black and gay, formed an “X” with her wrists while she held her arms above her head – to “represent the interface where all oppressed people meet”.
New Zealand veteran Valerie Adams was thrilled at her fifth Olympic Games when she won bronze with 19.62 gold medals in 2008 and 2012 and silver in 2016.
“This is a special day for me,” said Adams, 36. “As a mother, as a mother of two children, to be able to achieve this is phenomenal. I came back from motherhood and I can still be at the top of the game. I testify to that. ”