Skateboarding made its entrance in the Olympic Games for the first time in Tokyo, and Portugal was represented by an athlete who keeps growing and adding great results to his career history. He is Gustavo Ribeiro, 20 years old, and after his recent 8th place in Tokyo, where he got an Olympic diploma despite having competed injured, he shone again at the end of August, in the USA, winning the first stage of the World Street Skateboarding League.
Miguel Blanco, a 25-year-old surfer from Cascais, had his first contact with the sea and a surfboard when he was seven years old. A connection that immediately made him fall in love with the sport and led him to a life surrounded by waves. He is a two-time national surfing champion, in 2018 and 2019, among countless other victories. As a professional surfer, Miguel has visited hundreds of beaches in Portugal and around the world.
In Bali, Indonesia, the surfer came across vast amounts of plastic and microplastics that, pushed by the waves, settled on the beach sands covering most of its surface. This encounter with a devastating reality transformed the surfer forever and created the environmentalist we now know. He returned home with his eyes set on the sea and ready to do everything in his power to change the world, starting with his own country.
According to WWF (World Wide Fund) studies, the beaches in the Portuguese Costa Vicentina area are highly polluted with plastics, 75% of which are micro-plastics. This data confirmed Miguel's concern. He set out to help, creating the "beach clean up", an initiative to collect garbage at beaches. What started off as a symbolic event became a recurring success, given the high level of participation.
Ambassador for sustainability and ocean preservation
In an interview with Caras magazine, Miguel says that he tries to associate himself with brands that are sustainable and have a deep environmental awareness. As a result, he lives a healthy life surrounded by sustainable habits. For Miguel, surfing is an essential and relevant vehicle to transmit this message: he proudly calls himself "the ecological surfer".
For the surfer, even if you don't know the end you are heading towards by living ecologically, the state in which the planet and especially the oceans are in cannot continue.
This all made me realise I could make a difference
Blanco currently has about 22,000 followers on his Instagram page, where he frequently and consistently posts environmental awareness content. His initiatives to clean up beaches have multiplied. With between 20 and 40 participants at each event, the initiative spread to São Tomé, where he participated in a beach cleanup organised by local surfers to raise awareness among young people from this country with no system for collecting and recycling trash. This action was documented to promote awareness of the planet's current situation.
It is not only in surfing that opportunities to improve the world we live in can be found. Soccer, rugby, tennis, and any other sport can also be lived sustainably. To live a sustainable life pertains not only to ecology but also to having healthy relationships, humble, honest, and attentive attitudes towards the people we come across. Sustainability is a lifestyle open to everyone.
Leave the world in a better state than you found it!
Portugal's Paralympic mission is already in Tokyo to "warm-up" to the competition taking place between August 24 and September 5 in the Japanese capital. In total, 33 Portuguese athletes will participate in eight different sports: swimming, athletics, cycling, judo, equestrian, boccia, canoeing, and badminton. Tokyo is the first city to host these games twice, after the first in 1964. The Paralympic Games are the third-largest sports event in the world, after the Olympics and the World Cup.
Portugal got four medals at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo 2020, the best of all times participation for the country. It is a real achievement for a small country, even more given the pandemic, the ensuing crisis, and the reduced public budget allocated to sports education.
Since March 2020, no fan in Portugal could support his favourite team in the stadium: a wait of almost a year and a half, motivated by the pandemic, is now over, with great joy and relief from the sports community and society in general.
During the world's largest and most important sporting competition, the Olympic Games, the scientific journal The Lancet published a few studies on the importance of physical activity and the public health risks associated with a sedentary lifestyle, aggravated by the covid-19 pandemic that led to the confinement of millions of people about a year and a half ago.