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30960-Vinicius Goncalves Rodrigues photo

Vinicius Goncalves Rodrigues

Athletics

Biography

Impairment information

Type of Impairment
Limb deficiency
Origin of Impairment
Acquired
Classification
T63

Further personal information

Residence
São Paulo, BRA
Occupation
Athlete
Languages
English, Portuguese

Sport specific information

When and where did you begin this sport?
He was running with a prosthesis five months after his accident.
Why this sport?
He was encouraged to take up the sport by Brazilian Para athlete Terezinha Guilhermina who was from his home town and the pair had mutual friends. She showed him a video of German Para sprinter Heinrich Popow and gave him her team uniform from the 2008 Paralympic Games when she visited him in hospital. "She brought me light. I didn't have time to get depressed. I started with rehab hoping to walk and run again. And I was able to reach my goal five months after the accident."
Club / Team
Associacao Desportiva para Deficientes [ADD]: São Paulo, BRA
Training Regime
He trains six hours per day, from Monday to Saturday. When he started using a prosthesis, he also introduced dancing into his training regime. "I ran better after I started dancing with the blade and the more that I mastered different movements in my daily life."

General interest

Nicknames
Iron Man (Facebook profile, 08 Jun 2021)
Memorable sporting achievement
His first race in Para athletics and breaking the T63 100m world record in 2019 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (paralympic.org, 08 Nov 2020, 25 Jul 2019; Kenjiria YouTube channel, 19 Sep 2019)
Most influential person in career
Brazilian Para athlete Terezinha Guilhermina. (paralympic.org, 25 Jul 2019)
Hero / Idol
Brazilian Formula One driver Ayrton Senna. (Kenjiria YouTube channel, 19 Sep 2019)
Injuries
In early 2019 he sustained an injury to his right thigh. He returned to competition in April of that year. (globo.com, 25 Apr 2019)
Sporting philosophy / motto
"Live without limits." (Facebook profile, 08 Jun 2021)
Ambitions
To become a world and Paralympic champion and to compete at the 2020, 2024 and 2028 Paralympic Games. (esportes.r7.com, 28 Apr 2021; esportelandia.com.br, 19 Feb 2020)
Impairment
He had his left leg amputated above the knee after being injured in a motorcycle accident at age 19. (cpb.org.br, 01 Sep 2019; redetv.uol.com.br, 05 Aug 2016; jornalmateriaprima.com.br, 02 May 2016)
Other information
INSPIRATIONAL FIGURES
He admits that Brazilian Para athlete Terezinha Guilhermina and German Para athlete Heinrich Popow provided him with the motivation to pursue a career in the sport. Guilhermina visited him in hospital three days after his accident to suggest that he try Para athletics and also provided him with financial support. "They [Guilhermina and Popow] are like my godparents and they are world record holders and Paralympic champions. If I get to be half of what they are and make my mark in Paralympic history like they did, I'd be very content. There's no better teacher than a world record holder. Terezinha gave me this new dream. She helped me with therapy, paid my travel expenses, financially supported me and encouraged me every step along the way. Heinrich has supported me by helping me get the prosthesis to compete and with his advice. I wanted to race against him, but he was smart and retired." (esportes.r7.com, 28 Apr 2021; paralympic.org, 25 Jul 2019)

RIO DISAPPOINTMENT
He made it his goal to compete at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo after missing out on qualification for the 2016 Games in his home country. "Being left out of the Games at home was the biggest blow in my career. It was like people came to my country and had a party in my home but I stood firm and focused on my goal and it's my turn to show my talent. I remember every race, every emotion, everything learnt and it would be amazing to compete at the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo." (Instagram profile, 04 Sep 2019; paralympic.org, 25 Jul 2019)

TURNING POINT
Before his accident he had thought about becoming a police officer but believes his life has been enhanced by the amputation of his left leg. "My amputation made me a more confident guy. After the accident, I left my cocoon. I was a dreamer before and I did not have much expectation about my life. But when I put the blade on I feel like a racehorse. My self esteem is higher and I feel more handsome and stronger. If I knew then what I do now, I would have cut my leg off earlier, because life got a lot better." (World Para Athletics Facebook page, 01 Nov 2020; esportelandia.com.br, 19 Feb 2020)