“I guess I should begin this first diary introducing myself, since I think many people may not have heard of me. My name is Mauro Vinícius Hilário Lourenço da Silva. Pretty long, uh?
“But then perhaps you should expect that from a long jumper! However, my closest friends call me ‘Duda’, a nickname that was given to me by my grandmother Iracema, from my maternal side.
“To explain my name, for those not familiar with Portuguese culture, we use both our maternal and paternal names, placing the maternal first. For instance, Hilário Lourenço is my maternal last name and da Silva is my paternal.
“I was born in Presidente Prudente and now I live in São José do Rio Preto, which is 441km from the city of São Paulo, and that’s where I train under the guidance of Aristide Junqueira, also known as ‘Tide’.
“As you can already tell, most Brazilians have a nickname. Remember football players such as Pelé, Zico, Ronaldinho? Well, Tide is a well renowned coach, who guided Nelson Ferreira da Silva (8.36m in 1996) to fifth place at the 1997 World Championships, and he has been my only coach.
“Last year, 2012, was my breakthrough year. In March, in Istanbul, I won the World indoor title and in August, in London, I placed seventh in the Olympic Games final. That’s why my coach and I are expecting great things this year.
“Yet, that success came after a terrible injury I had with the ligaments of my right knee (I jump off my left leg). In 2011, I felt I had terrible luck as I missed the World Championships and Pan American Games, although I had the best South American performance of the year. I recovered in time for the second part of the season and jumped 8.23m, but that was after the period of qualification for all events.
“However, coming back was great, as I really feared my career could have ended because of that injury.
“So, winning in Istanbul was awesome! I achieved my best performances there and I brought back a global title to Brazil, the first from a male long jumper.
“London was a different story though, I competed with aggressiveness and that cost me a couple of fouls in the final. I struggled a bit, but it was a great experience. It was my first important final outdoors and has given me great confidence for the 2016 Games, which will be in Rio de Janeiro. It was a very tough exam that I believe I passed with a positive note.
“We have been able to put up a great base of training for 2013. Everything has gone very well, and we expect to achieve the qualification standard for the 2013 World Championships in Moscow in my next competitions.
“The season begun on 27 March at a small meet in São Paulo. I jumped a windy 8.08m (legal 7.81m). It was a very good way to begin my campaign. I liked how I performed during the event. Being over eight metres already will give me great confidence for my next competitions.
“Now, we expect to be over 8.25m in my third or fourth meet; then, I want to jump well and consistently so I can go to Moscow with the same confidence I had previously before I went to Istanbul.
“Besides my life on the track, I love to play video games; mostly football ones which I play with my brothers and sisters. I’m a Corinthians fan (the World Club champions!), they also known in Brazil as ‘Corinthiano’.
“Thanks to my World indoor title I was able to buy a country house in a rural condominium where I have a nice pool. The summer is now over, but I go there a lot with my family to relax at weekends. Also, as a good Brazilian I love samba… mostly songs by Thiaguinho, Pagode.
“So, my friends, I hope you like this introduction to my diary. I will be back in a few weeks. So long!”