On a memorable first day of competition, Felipe Almeida Wu gave locals plenty to cheer about when he won Brazil’s first medal at the Olympic Games Rio 2016 by taking silver in the men’s 10m air pistol final. He was also the first Youth Olympic Games (YOG) athlete to finish on the podium. We give the lowdown on the sharp shooter.
1. Born in São Paulo in 1992, Wu first started shooting aged eight and took part in his first competition at the age of 11.
2. Seven years later, Wu – who would train in his garage at home – represented Brazil on the international stage for the first time, at the YOG Singapore 2010. He made an instant impact, winning silver behind Ukraine’s Denys Kushnirov in the 10m air pistol, the exact same result he would record in Rio six years later.
3. His first major international victory came at the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto, in the process ensuring his qualification for Rio 2016.
4. Going into the last round of the men’s 10m air pistol final at Rio 2016, Wu was in first place, but a brilliant final shot from Hoang Xuan Vinh saw the Vietnamese athlete leapfrog the Brazilian to win his country’s first-ever Olympic gold medal, by 0.4 points. Despite missing out on gold, Wu was delighted with the result: “There are no words to describe how happy I am. We work very hard, and everything is worth the pain. Pain on my shoulder, pain in my back, but I will forget about all this pain now.”
5. With his silver medal, Wu sealed a special place in Brazilian history, becoming the first athlete from the host nation to finish on the podium at the Games. And he revealed that the support of the home crowd played a big part in his success. “It was profoundly touching and it helped me,” he said. “It made a difference in my performance. It was very good energy and I am very happy for all the support.”
6. He is also the first Brazilian to win a shooting medal since the Olympic Games Antwerp 1920 and hopes his achievement can inspire others to take up the sport. “I hope that the sport of shooting becomes more popular in Brazil,” he said. “I hope people get interested for this sport and start to practise, and I think that is a good thing, to win a medal. I hope it will be good for shooting.”
7. Wu’s first Olympic Games could get even better on 10 August when he has the chance to win another medal in the men’s 50m pistol.