This US-born Olympic-medal-winning sprinter has now abandoned the country after being forced to become an Uber driver to finance her running career.
Rosangela Santos was born in Washington D.C. but represents Brazil at international level as she has duel American and Brazilian citizenship.
The sprinter was part of the Brazil team which won bronze in the 4 x 100-metre relay at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.
Santos moved to the United States in 2013 in the hope of moving forward with her career as part of a project with Brazil Olympic Committee (COB).
However, after the Rio Olympics in 2016 the COB started reducing the number of athletes being sponsored on the project and began paying them in BRL. Santos began working as an Uber driver in Jacksonville, Florida to make ends meet.
She told reporters: “To earn stars and a tip, the driver always speaks to the passengers, I say that I’m new in the city and they always ask me why I went there. I say that I’m training, that I’m an athlete from Brazil, that I won an Olympic medal!
“It’s funny because they say ‘can I Google your name? Wow, it is you!’ And from there they ask to take a photo.”
However, the athlete, 28, has left the USA because of financial problems ahead of the 2020 Olympics and returned to Rio de Janeiro.
She told local newspaper ‘Globo’: “The reason for my return was thinking more about my financial situation. After 2015 the COB started making my payment from Brazil and the high dollar made my costs multiply by four. I also had a problem with an injury and because of the injury, I did not run well in 2018.
“In 2019 I didn’t have great results either which could leave me out of the Bolsa Podio (payment project). So as there is an Olympic Games in June I thought it was better to come back.”
She is now training under American coach Loren Seagrave in Rio and hopes to run at the Tokyo Olympics. Her personal best in the 100 metres is 10.91 seconds but her quickest time in 2019 was 11.23, which she says is “far below what I can do”.
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