RosângelaOliveira Cristina Santos is yet another Brazilian athlete who deserves accolades for her performances in the 2012 London Summer Olympics. Santos’ story is interesting as she was actually born in Boston, Massachusetts (Washington DC, according to other sources) to Brazilian parents who were working in the US at the time of her birth. She moved to Brazil only one year after being born. A Brazilian true and true, Santos comes from a family of Samba musicians and she dreams of dancing in the yearly Carnaval in Rio.
“My grandfather is one of the founders of the Mocidade Samba school, so I grew up in the Padre Miguel Independent Community. I’ve already paraded for many years but because of my training, I can’t parade in Carnaval. My dream is to come out as a Carnaval dancer but my aunt won’t let me because of the type of clothes”, she says.
At nearly 5’5” tall, green eyes, wide smile and a body that any woman would envy, the sprinter attracted many looks at the 2011 Pan-American Games in Mexico. So many looks that she got excited at the suggestion that she try her hand at a modeling career.
“I never thought about it. Now they’ve given me an idea of being a model. I’ll start doing this on the side when I don’t have (athletic) competition”, said the Pan-American champion.
She was co-champion in the 100m of the 2007 World Youth Championships in Ostrava, Czech Republic and won a bronze medal in 4x100m at the 2008 World Junior Championships in Bydgoszcz, Poland.
At the age 17, she was a finalist in the 4x100m in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, where the Brazilian team took fourth place, just 0.10 seconds from the bronze medal that went to Nigeria.
In the 2011 World Championships in Daegu, South Korea, Rosângela went to the final of the 4x100m relay, coming in eighth place, with a South American record time of 42s92 in the preliminary.
As part of the delegation that competed in the 2011 Pan-American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico, she won the gold medal in the 100 meter dash, beating her personal record with a time of 11.22 seconds. She became only the second Brazilian ever to win this race in the Pan American Games. In reference to her nationality, Santos had this to say after beating an American in the race: “United States nothing, so much so that I didn’t let the American (Barbara Pierre, silver medalist) beat me. The gold is Brazil’s and it will stay there as long as I’m defending it.”
Rosângela poses with her gold medal from the 2011 Pan-American Games in Mexico
She also won the 4×100 meter relay along with Vanda Gomes, Franciela Krasucki and Ana Cláudia Lemos da Silva, with a mark of 42s85, breaking the South American record.
In the recent London Summer Olympics of 2012, Rosângela went to the semifinals of the 100-meter dash with a mark of 11.07s, which surpassed the best time South American time previously held by fellow Brazilian, Ana Cláudia Lemos. The time was not officially accepted as a South American record because of the wind of +2.2 m/s (the maximum allowed for approval of a record is +2.0 m/s). She finished behind American Allyson Felix, who finished with a time of 11s01.
Rosângela in 2012 London Summer Olympics semi-final race with American Allyson Felix
In the semifinal, she came in 3rd place (losing to Carmelita Jeter and Veronica Campbell-Brown, who advanced to the final and won, respectively, silver and bronze), obtaining a personal best mark of 11s17, placing in 12th place overall. She was the first Brazilian to earn a place in an Olympic semifinal race.
Of her performance, Santos said:
“I hoped to do better; I come here to give my best. If this was my best, I won’t complain, it’s God’s will. I still didn’t manage to match in the competition what I did in training.”
As part of the Brazilian team composed of Ana Cláudia Lemos, Franciela Krasucki and Evelyn dos Santos in 4x100m relay at the 2012 London Olympics she helped break the SouthAmerican record with a time of 42s55 time to qualify for the finals in sixth place.