Daniel Dias celebrated his retirement with pizza, soda and ice cream at Vila Paralímpica | paralympics

According to Daniel Dias, there were three years of preparation for the day of farewell to competitive swimming. But not all social security prepared him for the feelings of this 1st of September. Still in the qualifiers for the 50m freestyle S5 he fought with tears, which followed him throughout the day until the final of the race, in which he finished in fourth place.

Daniel Dias says goodbye to the Paralympics — Photo: ALE CABRAL/CPB

– Today was a day unlike anything else. I woke up crying, I cried a lot in the morning. I went for a coffee to swim in the qualifiers and thought it would be easier. Having made this decision a long time ago, I thought it would be easier, but it wasn’t. Moments of crying, smile, a lot of nervousness, a lot of emotion. After the tie, I saw that it was going to be very difficult – he told live on social network.

After the last fall into the water, the crying gave way to a serenity. He felt “at peace” with the decision made and with the certainty that he had done much more than he had dreamed. And he found a simple but true way to celebrate:

– I ate pizza, drank soda and sucked on ice cream. Today you can, will you? Day of celebration – commented on the supper in the Vila Paralímpica cafeteria.

Daniel Dias is fourth in his farewell to the pools in the 50m free S5 - Tokyo Paralympics

Daniel Dias is fourth in his farewell to the pools in the 50m free S5 – Tokyo Paralympics

The acceptance of the treats makes sense for an athlete who was on the way to his fourth Paralympics and made sacrifices to reach the peak. He cut out all kinds of unhealthy food and was awarded three medals, all of them bronze.

Daniel Dias talks about the expectation for the last Paralympic final of his career

Daniel Dias talks about the expectation for the last Paralympic final of his career

A swimmer – now a former swimmer – who actually also had far greater challenges than limitations on the plate.

– It was three years of many challenges. The first thing I see was being able to rescue this joy of competing, of training. I wanted to stop this way and today I am an athlete accomplished by everything I have achieved. There was also the challenge of the pandemic. Of being able to keep the body active when everything is closed. We need to make a very different schedule. The swimmer needs a pool, he needs water, and at the beginning of the pandemic this was very difficult. We train in cold water, in the dark, in hiding. We also got Covid-19. If that wasn’t enough, we also spent seven days without training in Japan. So, those were the big challenges – he recalled.

Daniel leaves the Paralympics and high performance sport with a more than positive balance. There were 27 Paralympic medals (of which 14 were gold) and another 40 in World Championships.

Clodoaldo Silva talks about Daniel Dias' legacy: "Shows that we need opportunities"

Clodoaldo Silva talks about Daniel Dias’ legacy: “It shows that we need opportunities”

Not bad for someone who started as a teenager, almost at age 16, and revolutionized the sport in the country.

– I’ll miss it here, swimming, but that’s how I wanted to stop. The team is very well represented and I am very happy about it. It’s a legacy I leave – he concluded.