Interview with Brazil’s Pamella Oliveira
Earlier this month Rachel Joyce of TriEqual caught up with Pamella Oliviera. For those not familiar with the name, Pamella has been Brazil’s premier ITU triathlete for the past few years. Rio will be her second Olympics having represented Brazil in the London 2012 games. We caught up with Pamella to learn more about her racing background and her feelings leading into her home Olympics.
Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions for TriEqual.
It is often hard for triathlon fans to get to really know many ITU athletes. Can you tell TriEqual supporters a bit about your sporting background and how you got into triathlon?
A: I started the swimming academy with 5 years of age and I did not stopped since my first swimming class. I went through all the categories in swimming before starting on triathlon.
I met triathlon through the guys who were part of a central national training team that had based on my hometown (Vila Velha) and they made their swimming training at the club where I trained in Vitória (Espírito Santo’s capital). I started to talk about training and races with them and I got interested more and more.
A while later, when I going through a bad period in swimming, I started to think doing something different and the dynamics of triathlon got me excited, and I could some take advantage of what I was already good swimmer.
Where in Brazil are you from and do you use that as your main training base? We know that ITU athletes have a demanding race schedule that takes them around the world. Do you have any other training bases in the world?
A: I’m from Vila Velha – Espirito Santo. I am training in Rio Maior (Portugal) since January 2011 which is our base, but during the season we get training camps in other countries and places. When we’re close to an important competition like Olympics that is coming in almost 2 months we get some altitude training as well.
What has been your career highlight up to now?
A: The bronze medal at the Pan American Games of Guadalajara (Mexico 2011) was an important moment of my career. That time I realized I could go further if I worked right. It was a very important medal to my country and I keep it on my mind with love even after having succeeded in other races with difficult results.
You’ve competed for Brazil in the 2012 London Olympics: how was that experience?
A: It was amazing. A magic moment for me. As soon as I arrived in London and I saw everything right there assembled, all details, everyone involved in what was something great and I was very pleased to have been able to live it. I was always very quiet and enjoying every single moment. My only desire was leave there, all that I trained and fought to be there and even with the fall on the bike, I got satisfied with it.
Knowing that the next Olympics was going to be in Brazil must have been a huge motivator. Can you remember where you were when Rio was announced as the 2016 host city? What was your reaction?
A: I really don’t remember … Probably I was in some training session (smiles). But I remember my happiness thinking that I could get a slot for Olympic Games in my country. After the announcement I moved to Portugal in 2011 to make part of Rio Maior Brazilian triathlon team project and fortunately I got the slot for London 2012.
Have you had much opportunity to ride and test out the Olympic course? What do you think of it?
A: We came to Rio last May to train on the course. That’s a very hard bike course specially on the uphill and the downhill is very technical and a little dangerous, but the more times we made the course more confidence we gained for the race day. We got a lot of performance statistics during the training session, and we analyze each information in detail. We also had the opportunity to swim on the course. We do not know how will be the sea on the race day, so we have to be ready to any condition. Maybe swimmers like me will have some advantage if the conditions are not 100% on the race day. The run course, there’s no secret because it’s a flat and fast course. I guess the heat will be the big challenge for all athletes.
Have you felt more pressure going into these Olympics as it is being held in your home country?
A: No I don’t. I’m very quiet.I like to compete with brazilian crowd pushing me during the race. It motivates me more. I do not see as pressure, I see as more forces gathered for the event.
Finally, what are your plans for after the Olympics?
After the Olympic Games probably I will race the WTS Grand Final in Cozumel and after that I plan come back to Brazil enjoying my family and friends and competing more in Brazil and risk me in some Ironman 70.3 races.