Reaching Olympus

Benfica Athletes in the Olympic Games

“Those at the Olympic Games are the «best of the best» in the world, they are people who train for four years. First, we have to recognise that and feel that whoever is there is already special.”
Ana Oliveira, coordinator of Olympic Benfica



For an athlete, to participate in the Olympic Games is the crowning achievement of a successful career. In this exhibition, we remember the athletes of Sport Lisboa e Benfica who took part in the most prestigious worldwide sports event.




Portugal and the Olympic Games

In Portugal, the initial growth of sport followed the trends of other countries, with new clubs and associations, leagues, and even unions, today known as sports federations, appearing year after year. Sport, which at the end of the 19th century was largely restricted to the elite, over the years has begun to integrate members of the various social classes and become part of national daily life.

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Benfica and the Olympic Games

The first participation of Benfica athletes in the Olympic Games took place in Amsterdam 1928. Two personalities linked to Benfica’s History had participated in previous editions, but they were no longer athletes of the Club at the time: Francisco Lázaro, who ran the marathon in Stockholm 1912, and Félix Bermudes, who competed in the shooting event in Paris 1924.

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1928 Amsterdam
1936 Berlin
1948 London
1952 Helsinki
1960 Rome
1972 Munich
1976 Montreal
1980 Moscow
1984 Los Angeles
1988 Seoul
1992 Barcelona
1996 Atlanta
2000 Sydney
2004 Athens
2008 Beijing
2012 London
2016 Rio de Janeiro

Amsterdam 1928

17 May - 12 August

In a world in the throes of a financial crisis, Amsterdam hosted the 10th edition of the Olympic Games. For the first time, the event was not led by the mentor of the Modern Olympic Games, Pierre de Coubertin, who had stepped down as President of the International Olympic Committee in 1925 for health and family reasons.

Portugal made its debut in two major sports: field hockey and football. The sending of a Portuguese team to what was then the most international of football competitions led Portuguese journalists to travel in great numbers to the Netherlands, not only those specialising in sports, such as Cândido de Oliveira, Ribeiro dos Reis, Craveiro Lopes, and Salazar Correia, but also the ones dedicated to more general subjects such as António Ferro and Adelino Mendes.

The winner of the football competition was Uruguay. Two years later, in 1930, the South American country would host the first Football World Cup and would also become the first world champion in history.

Athlete SLB: 1923/24-1931/32

Result:

Quarter final

Jorge Tavares

Athlete SLB: 1926/27-1927/28

Result:

Quarter final

Raul de Figueiredo

Athlete SLB: 1927/28-1935/36

Result:

Quarter final

Vítor Silva

Olympic Football

First participation of Benfica athletes in the Olympic Games

Berlin 1936

1 August - 16 August

On 1st August, with Germany under the Third Reich, and before 100,000 spectators in Berlin’s Olympic Stadium, Adolf Hitler announced the opening of the 11th edition of the Olympic Games. The Führer’s Olympic campaign served as a propaganda boost to his political regime, allowing him to show the world the growth that the Nazi government had imposed on Germany.

Athlete SLB: 1932/33-1943/44

Competition and Result:

Marathon – 17th place

Manuel Dias

Manuel Dias

A marathon with obstacles

London 1948

29 July – 14 August

The year 1948 was a wave of fresh air after the cancellation of the 1940 and 1944 editions of the Olympics due to the outbreak of World War II. In 1948, London regained the role of host city that had been assigned to the English capital in 1944. In the aftermath of a world in recovery, Germany and Japan, the main aggressor nations of World War II, were not invited to participate.

This edition was the stage for Benfica’s athlete Luís Alcide, who participated in the triple jump event. Jumping 13.92m, he reached the 22nd place and did not qualify for the final. His performance though may have been affected by an injury since he was “still not fully recovered”.

Athlete SLB: 1942/43-1950/51

Competition and Result:

Triple jump – 22th place

Luís Alcide

Did you know that…?




The Portuguese athletics delegation didn’t take a physical therapist with them, which harmed the national performance. According to the Stadium magazine, “the lack of a physical therapist was notorious, since the temperature was very low, and it is common amongst our athletes the neglect of a proper warm up”.

Luís Alcide

Helsinki 1952

19 July - 3 August

In the early 1950s, the world was living under the sign of the Cold War. This edition was marked by the Soviet Union’s first participation in the Olympic Games. The Soviets realised the propagandistic potential of the event and started a race for Olympic gold medals, to demonstrate the Eastern Bloc’s capacity for achievement and superiority to the whole world.

Helsinki saw the renown of Emil Zatopek, nicknamed the “Czech Locomotive”. The Czech conquered the 5,000m, the 10,000m, and the marathon, and is still considered to be one of the best runners of all time.

The national delegation was composed of 71 athletes from nine sports. The five Benfica athletes who participated in this edition competed in athletics and shooting.

Athlete SLB: 1942/43-1953/54

Competitions and Results:

200m – qualifying round

4x100m – qualifying round

Eugénio Eleutério

Athlete SLB: 1947/48-1953/54

Competitions and Results:

200m – qualifying round

4x100m – qualifying round

400m – qualifying round

Fernando Casimiro

Athlete SLB: 1938/39-1956/57

Competitions and Results:

400m hurdles – qualifying round

Decathlon – 16th place

Matos Fernandes

Athlete SLB: 1942/43-1957/58

Competitions and Results:

100m – qualifying round

4x100m – qualifying round

Tomás Paquete

Athlete SLB: 1949-1966

Competitions and Results:

50m rifle, 3 positions – 31st place

50m rifle, prone – 37th place

Luís Howorth

Athletes quartet

Casimiro, Eleutério, Matos Fernandes, and Paquete

Luís Howorth

Benfica’s first and only participation in shooting

Rome 1960

25 August - 11 September

The Rome Olympics were marked by a symbiosis between Classical Antiquity, with some of the sports played in historic sites, and the Modern Age, represented by the renovated Olympic Stadium, the Games’ main stage. These were the first Games to be broadcast live on television, thanks to the invention of the satellite, and the first to use the photo finish system.

Two athletes have made Olympic history: Ethiopian Abede Bikita won the marathon running barefoot and Danish sailor Paul Elvstrom was the first to win a gold medal in four Olympics. This edition was also marked by the death of cyclist Knut Jensen, caused by an excess of stimulant substances. Rome was also the embryo of the future Paralympic Games, since for the first time there was the participation of athletes with disabilities.

In this edition, the Portuguese delegation was composed by 65 athletes, five of which were women. The “reds” were represented in athletics, cycling, and wrestling.

Athlete SLB: 1949/50-1971/72

Competition and Result:

Hammer throw – qualifying round

Eduardo Albuquerque

Athlete SLB: 1955/56-1962/63

Competition and Result:

Decathlon – withdrawal (injury)

Júlio Santos

Athlete SLB: 1960-1963

Competition and Result:

Team road race – 25th place

Ramiro Martins

Athlete SLB: 1958-1961

Competition and Result:

Greco-Roman wrestling, -62Kg – 22nd place (= tie)

José António Gregório

Detail of O Benfica Ilustrado, no. 14 (November 1958), p. 4

Eduardo Albuquerque, an engineer working for RTP (the Portuguese public service broadcaster) and a famous athlete, achieved 54.92m in the hammer throw, which was not enough to qualify for the final.

Júlio Santos, very demoralized due to the suffocating heat, was affected by an old lesion and got injured again, not finishing the decathlon events.

José António Gregório (lower position) during the Greco-Roman wrestling event

In Greco-Roman wrestling, José António Gregório was eliminated by the Persian Ebrahimian, and got the 22nd place.

In cycling, in the 100km road race event, Ramiro Martins and his teammates got the 25th place, among 35 teams.

Munich 1972

26 August – 11 September

This edition of the Olympic Games was bloodstained by the terrible events that occurred on 5 September 1972. An operational command of the Palestinian terrorist group called Black September stormed the Olympic Village and kidnapped members of the Israeli delegation, killing two of them. The world’s eyes were on Munich as negotiations took place between the terrorists and the German government, which eventually accepted the group’s demands. When terrorists and hostages arrived at the airport, the German police intervention resulted in a tragic outcome, with the death of the nine hostages, five terrorists, and one police officer.

The trials were suspended for a day, voices raised in favour of cancelling the Olympics, and the delegations from Israel, Norway, the Philippines, and the Netherlands withdrew from the Games. Only thanks to the determination of Avery Brundage, president of the International Olympic Committee, did the event continue, respecting the ideals of sportsmanship without borders, religions, or politics.

Mark Spitz’s performance was overwhelming. The American swimmer won seven gold medals, breaking world records in the 100m and 200m freestyle and butterfly.

In this edition the Portuguese delegation was represented by 29 athletes, with Fernando Silva being the only Benfica athlete in the group. The athlete competed in the 400m hurdles race and in the 4x400m relay, along with Alberto Matos, José Carvalho, and Fernando Mamede.

Athlete SLB: 1969/70-1972/73; 1976/77-1978/79

Competitions and Results:

4x400m – qualifying round

400m hurdles – qualifying round

Fernando Silva

Did you know that…?




After the 400m hurdles race, when interviewed by A Bola newspaper, Fernando Silva said:

“Do you know what this is? It is lack of experience; I am too young to be involved in these things. I was running greedily, I felt ahead of everyone, I looked around, I did not see anyone beside me, so I felt a never-ending thirst for victory. […] At 200 metres, it was wonderful, the track was all mine. Everyone was behind me and I was on the front of the race. But you have no idea... when I was closing in on the 300 metres, I felt a pain in my legs... and well, all of them were then passing me, it was like the world was ending, everything I had thought of was falling apart...”.

Detail of the newspaper A Bola, no. 4015 (4 September 1972), p. 6

Montreal 1976

17 July - 31 July

The beautiful city of Montreal hosted the 21st Olympiad, in which more than six thousand athletes from 92 different countries participated. At a time when the world was living under an unprecedented economic recession originated by the 1973 oil crisis, Canadians spent 1.5 million dollars organising the event. It was considered the highest cost overrun on record for any Olympics.

This edition was also marked by a political conflict. Thirty African nations boycotted the event in protest for the invitation extended to New Zealand, whose rugby team was touring South Africa, defying the international sanctions against the South African apartheid regime.

Fourteen-year-old Romanian gymnast Nádia Comaneci won three gold medals and became the first gymnast to score a perfect ten. This edition saw the enlargement of the female sector in sports such as basketball and handball.

Portugal participated in the Games with a reduced delegation, represented by only 19 athletes. Benfica was represented in athletics by Hélder Jesus and Anacleto Pinto.

Athlete SLB: 1964/65-1968/69; 1973/74-1976/77; 1979/80-1980/81

Competition and Result:

Marathon – 22th place

Anacleto Pinto

Athlete SLB: 1971/72-1977/78

Competition and Result:

1500m – semi-final

Hélder de Jesus

Hélder Jesus qualified with relative ease for the semi-finals of the 1500m event, using the strategy of printing speed in the middle of the race. In the semi-final, the tactic did not work, he could not resist the pressure and, by the time the bell rang for the last lap, Hélder Jesus was already out of the race.

Anacleto Pinto ran the marathon. Used to physically demanding races, the athlete was in the leading group but halfway through the race he could not resist the tough rhythm imposed by the leading men and had to give up.

Moscow 1980

19 July - 3 August

The first Olympic Games held in a communist country were attended by 5,217 athletes representing 80 countries, the lowest number since Melbourne 1956. Jimmy Carter, president of the United States of America followed by 65 Western countries, declared a boycott to the Games due to the invasion of Afghanistan by Soviet troops.

It was an edition dominated by the supremacy of the Eastern Bloc: the Soviets won 195 medals while the German Democratic Republic collected 126. The gymnast Aleksandr Dityatin (USSR) became the first athlete to win eight medals in an Olympic edition.

Despite the boycott of most Western countries, Portugal was unofficially represented in this edition with 11 athletes, with Benfica’s Anacleto Pinto and João Campos taking part in the athletics events.

Athlete SLB: 1964/65-1968/69; 1973/74-1976/77; 1979/80-1980/81

Competition and Result:

Marathon – 22th place

Anacleto Pinto

Athlete SLB: 1979/80-1989/90

Competition and Result:

1500m – semi-final

João Campos

In the marathon, Anacleto Pinto showed strength and the will to go further, keeping a good pace throughout the race. He got the 10th place among 76 competitors, improving the position (22nd) achieved in the previous Games.

Young João Campos left a good impression, qualifying for the semi-final of the 1500m event, in which he finished in 7th place with 3min44.4s.

LOS ANGELES 1984

28 July - 12 August

After the financial crisis of 1976, only Los Angeles applied to host the 1984 Olympic Games. The edition had several new features: it was organised under private funding; more sports were included - women’s marathon, rhythmic gymnastics, synchronised swimming, and women’s road cycling; and the dissemination of information was modernised with the use of computers, which fascinated and turned the work of journalists a lot easier, as they had access in a few seconds to the history and marks achieved by every athlete.

The Cold War atmosphere had several consequences on the competition. The Soviet Union and 15 other countries replicated the United States of America in the Moscow Olympics and boycotted the competition. A few days before the beginning of the Games, there was another withdrawal. Displeased that three Libyan journalists had been prevented from entering the United States of America, Libya decided not to attend.

The Portuguese Olympic Committee also presented new features for this edition. It replaced the format in which the federations indicated which athletes could be selected and started to determine minimum qualification marks.

Benfica had six athletes who left their mark in the Games. Benfica swimming made its debut in the Olympic Games. Marathon runner Rita Borralho became the first female athlete from the Club to participate in the Olympics. The highlight of this edition was the winning of the first Olympic medal by a Benfica athlete, António Leitão, in the 5,000m race.

In addition to António Leitão’s medal, Portugal also won its first gold medal by Carlos Lopes in the marathon.

Athlete SLB: 1982/83-1990/91

Competition and Result:

5000m – 3rd place (bronze medal)

António Leitão

Athlete SLB: 1979/80-1989/90

Competition and Result:

Marathon – did not finish

Cidálio Caetano

Athlete SLB: 1979/80-1989/90

Competition and Result:

5000m – semi-final

João Campos

Athlete SLB: 1982/83-1990/91

Competition and Result:

Marathon – 38th place

Rita Borralho

Athlete SLB: 1979/80-1992/93

Competitions and Results:

100m breaststroke – 34th place (= tie)

200m breaststroke – 7th place

Alexandre Yokochi

Athlete SLB: 1979/80-1988/89

Competitions and Results:

100m butterfly – 37th place (= tie)

200m butterfly – 23rd place

João Santos

António Leitão

Bronze medal

Alexandre Yokochi

Expectations exceeded in swimming debut

Seoul 1988

17 September - 2 October

The 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul like the previous two editions were marked by boycotts, this time by North Korea, Cuba, Ethiopia, and Nicaragua. Despite the boycotts, this edition had a record number of participating countries: 159.

During the competition, a controversy arose with the United States volleyball team because the players refused to clean up the floor. The International Volleyball Federation had adopted a new rule, to speed up the pace of the games. Whenever a player fell, instead of a staff member coming in to clean the floor, the players would do it themselves, using a towel that would be attached to their shorts. The Americans challenged the decision, arguing that the floor would not be cleaned properly and could cause an injury, also claiming that they were athletes, not members of the cleaning staff.

Canadian athlete Ben Johnson, after winning the gold medal in the 100m event, in which he set a new world record, tested positive for doping. Canadians, who had been thrilled with his victory, were frustrated. The government reacted quickly, cutting off all funding to Johnson and suspending him from the Canadian team for life.

Portuguese Rosa Mota won a gold medal in the women’s marathon. In this edition, 13 Benfica athletes from athletics and swimming attended the competition, therefore Benfica was the Portuguese club with the largest representation in the national delegation.

Athlete SLB: 1984/85-1992/93

Competitions and Results:

4x400m relay – semi-final

800m – semi-final

Álvaro Silva

Athlete SLB: 1987/88-1996/97

Competitions and Results:

4x400m relay – semi-final

800m – 32nd place

António Abrantes

Athlete SLB: 1981/82-1987/88

Competition and Result:

5000m – 31st place

Fernando Couto

Athlete SLB: 1985/86-1989/90

Competitions and Results:

4x400m relay – semi-final

400m – 46th place

Filipe Lombá

Athlete SLB: 1984/85-1985/86; 1987/88-2001/02

Competition and Result:

20Km race walk – 29th place

José Urbano

Athlete SLB: 1983/84-1999/00

Competitions and Results:

100m – 69th place (= tie)

200m – 44th place

Luís Cunha

Athlete SLB: 1984/85-1992/93

Competition and Result:

4x400m relay – semi-final

Paulo Curvelo

Athlete SLB: 1984/85-1992/93

Competition and Result:

4x100m relay – semi-final (disqualified)

Pedro Curvelo

Athlete SLB: 1979/80-1992/93

Competitions and Results:

100m breaststroke – 40th place

200m breaststroke – 9th place

Alexandre Yokochi

Athlete SLB: 1984/85-1995/96

Competitions and Results:

200m freestyle – 28th place

200m butterfly – 26th place

400m Freestyle – 26th place

Diogo Madeira

Athlete SLB: 1979/80-1988/89

Competition and Result:

4x100m butterfly relay – 14th place

Henrique Villaret

Athlete SLB: 1979/80-1988/89

Competition and Result:

200m butterfly – 29th place

João Santos

Athlete SLB: 1984/85-1990/91

Competitions and Results:

100m butterfly – 27th place

200m butterfly – 18th place

Sandra Neves

High hopes for young stars

High moment of the “red” swimming

Barcelona 1992

25 July - 9 August

In the first edition of the Olympic Games after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the dissolution of the Soviet Union, unified Germany participated, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania competed as independent countries, while the other countries that were part of the Soviet Union chose to attend the Games together, under the designation of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). With the end of the Apartheid, South Africa was allowed to participate.

Baseball, which in the last six editions had been present as an exhibition sport, was included as an Olympic sport, as well as badminton and women’s judo.

Basketball was the sport with the most media coverage, due to the participation of players such as Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Earvin Johnson, Larry Bird, and Karl Malone playing for the United States of America. The opponents themselves were not indifferent, taking the opportunity to take photographs with the Americans.

The 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games mark Benfica’s biggest participation ever, with 26 athletes, six of which were with the Angolan delegation. This was the first edition in which Benfica was represented by athletes of a nationality other than Portuguese.

In this edition, Benfica athletes made their debut in basketball, rink hockey, tennis and archery. The Portuguese rink hockey players were the closest to winning a medal, coming in 4th place.

Athlete SLB: 1989/90-1993/94

Competition and Result:

100m – qualifying round

Afonso Ferraz

Athlete SLB: 1984/85-1992/93

Competition and Result:

4x400m relay - 18th place

Álvaro Silva

Athlete SLB: 1987/88-1996/97

Competition and Result:

800m – 40th place

António Abrantes

Athlete SLB: 1990/91-1993/94

Competition and Result:

Triple jump – qualifying round

António Santos

Athlete SLB: 1988/89-1992/93

Competition and Result:

Marathon – did not finish

António Pinto

Athlete SLB: 1990/91-1995/96

Competition and Result:

4x400m relay – 8th place

Eduarda Coelho

Athlete SLB: 1990/91-1991/92

Competition and Result:

400m – qualifying round

João Capindiça

Athlete SLB: 1990/91-1991/92

Competitions and Results:

800m – qualifying round

1500m – qualifying round

João N’Tyamba

Athlete SLB: 1984/85-1985/86; 1987/88-2001/02

Competitions and Results:

20 Km race walk – disqualified

50 Km race walk – 25th place

José Urbano

Athlete SLB: 1987/88-1993/94

Competitions and Results:

100m – 23rd place

200m – 19th place

4x400m relay – 8th place

Lucrécia Jardim

Athlete SLB: 1989/90-1993/94

Competition and Result:

4x100m relay – 19th place

Luís Barroso

Athlete SLB: 1983/84-1999/00

Competition and Result:

4x100m relay – 19th place

Luís Cunha

Athlete SLB: 1990/91-1991/92

Competition and Result:

4x100m relay – 19th place

Pedro Agostinho

Athlete SLB: 1984/85-1992/93

Competitions and Results:

4x100m relay – 19th place

4x400m – 18th place

Pedro Curvelo

Athlete SLB: 1988/89-1998/99

Competitions and Results:

4x400m – 18th place

400m hurdles – 21st place

Pedro Rodrigues

Athlete SLB: 1988/89-1995/96

Result:

10th place

Jean-Jacques da Conceição

Athlete SLB: 1984/85-1988/89; 1991/92-1993/94; 1996/97

Result:

10th place

José Carlos Guimarães

Athlete SLB: 1988/89-2001/02

Result:

4th place

Luís Ferreira

Athlete SLB: 1989/90-1998/99

Result:

4th place

Paulo Almeida

Athlete SLB: 1987/88-1995/96

Result:

4th place

Rui Lopes

Athlete SLB: 1989/90-2002/03

Result:

4th place

Vítor Fortunato

Athlete SLB: 1988-1992

Competition and Result:

Greco-Roman wrestling, -74Kg – 14th place

Paulo Martins

Athlete SLB: 1979/80-1992/93

Competition and Result:

100m breaststroke – 39th place

Alexandre Yokochi

Athlete SLB: 1984/85-1995/96

Competitions and Results:

200m medley – 33rd place

200m butterfly – 29th place

Diogo Madeira

Athlete SLB: 1990/91-1992/93

Competitions and Results:

Singles – 33rd place (= tie)

Doubles – 17th place (= tie)

Bernardo Mota

Athlete SLB: 1990-1995

Competition and Result:

Individual – 23rd place

Ana de Sousa

In Pedro Rodrigues’s Olympic debut, the athlete rose to the occasion. Despite not making it to the final, he set a mark of 49.46s in the 400m hurdles event, breaking the national record of 49.94s that belonged to his coach, José Carvalho, and that had stood for 16 years.

In her first Olympic participation, Lucrécia Jardim had a brilliant performance. In the semi-finals of the 200m race, the Benfica athlete ran the distance in 23.09s, setting a new national record, and came very close to qualifying for the final, having to resort to photo finish, to confirm her position: the 5th place.

José Carlos Guimarães and Jean-Jacques

José Carlos Guimarães and Jean-Jacques joined the Angolan basketball team. It was a triple debut, as neither had ever participated in an Olympic event, nor the Angolan basketball. They qualified in 10th place and left their mark on the event. The newspapers talked about the Angolan athletes as if they were Olympic winners, sometimes overshadowing the American basketball players.

The "red" hockey players Paulo Almeida, Luís Ferreira, Rui Lopes, and Vítor Fortunato
In the tennis debut, the Club was represented by Bernardo Mota
In the archery debut, Ana de Sousa represented the Club

Atlanta 1996

19 July - 4 August

The Atlanta Olympics marked the centennial of the Modern Olympic Games and all 197 National Olympic Committees attended. Beach volleyball and women’s football were added to the Olympic sports. Austrian sailor Hubert Raudashl became the first athlete to be present in nine editions of the Olympic Games.

This edition was marked by the terrorist act in the early hours of 27 July, in the Centennial Olympic Park, with the explosion of a medium-power bomb that killed two people and injured around two hundred.

After the failure of the last edition, the Portuguese delegation had a very positive participation. Fernanda Ribeiro won the gold medal in the 10,000m race. Nine Benfica athletes were present, in athletics, football, and swimming. Calado and Kennedy stood out playing an instrumental role in the brilliant Portuguese campaign in football, coming close to a medal, achieving the 4th place.

Athlete SLB: 1987/88-1996/97

Competition and Result:

800m – qualifying round

António Abrantes

Athlete SLB: 1991/92-1998/99; 2003/04-2005/06

Competition and Result:

400m hurdles – qualifying round

Carlos Silva

Athlete SLB: 1990/91-1995/96

Competition and Result:

800m – qualifying round

Eduarda Coelho

Athlete SLB: 1984/85-1985/86; 1987/88-2001/02

Competition and Result:

20 Km race walk – 31st place

José Urbano

Athlete SLB: 1983/84-1999/00

Competition and Result:

100m – qualifying round

Luís Cunha

Athlete SLB: 1993/94-1996/97

Competition and Result:

100m hurdles – did not compete (injury)

Sandra Barreiro

Athlete SLB: 1995/96-2001/02

Results:

4th place

Calado

Athlete SLB: 1990/91-1995/96

Results:

4th place

Kenedy

Athlete SLB: 1984/85-1995/96

Competition and Result:

200m butterfly – 25th place

Diogo Madeira

Diogo Madeira

Three participations, constant evolution

Sydney 2000

15 September - 1 October

The Sydney edition of the Olympics had a new feature: the inclusion of triathlon and taekwondo as Olympic sports. The competition was marked by the participation of four Timorese athletes, even though without an anthem or flag.

One of the protagonists of this competition was Ian Thorpe, the Australian swimmer who won three gold medals and two silver medals. The British rower Steve Redgrave became the first athlete to win the gold medal in five consecutive editions of the Olympic Games.

Benfica had two athletes in the Olympic Games: Mário Aníbal, in athletics, and the Spanish Carlos Marchena, in football.

Athlete SLB: 1989/90-2004/05

Competition and Result:

Decathlon – 12th place

Mário Aníbal

Athlete SLB: 2000/01

Result:

2nd place (silver medal)

Marchena

In his debut in the Olympic Games Mário Aníbal had a brilliant performance in the decathlon event, winning 8,136 points, setting a new national record.

Carlos Marchena with the silver medal
won at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games

Marchena contributed to Spain’s flourishing silver medal-winning campaign. In the final, against Cameroon, luck was on the Africans’ side. The African team won on the penalty shootout.

Athens 2004

11 August - 29 August

The Olympic Games returned to Greece, the Olympics’ home country, more than a century later. The Panathinaikos Stadium, site of the first edition of the Modern Olympic Games in 1896, was completely remodelled. For the first time, the Olympic torch travelled around the world, passing through countries on every continent, before returning to Hellenic soil.

Portugal had its best performance ever, winning three medals and 13 Olympic diplomas.

For Benfica, Nelson Évora and Moreira, and the Nigerian Uchenna Emedolou participated.

Athlete SLB: 2000/01; 2003/04-2015/16

Competition and Result:

Triple jump – 40th place

Nelson Évora

Athlete SLB: 2003/04

Competitions and Results:

100m – 8th place

4x100m relay – 3rd place (bronze medal)

Uchenna Emodolu

Athlete SLB: 2000/01-2010/11

Result:

14th place

Moreira

Uchenna Emedolou

Second “red” bronze medal

Beijing 2008

8 August - 24 August

The Olympic Games were held on Chinese territory for the first time. Beijing was chosen as the host city for this edition and, in addition to the host city, six other cities hosted Olympic events: Hong Kong, Qiugdao, Shanghai, Tianjin, Qinhuangdao, and Shenyang.

In this edition, the North American swimmer Michael Phelps made history. He won eight gold medals and simultaneously broke seven world records and one Olympic record. His performance earned him the Pierre de Coubertin medal, the highest decoration awarded to an Olympic athlete.

Beijing was the debut stage for Benfica athletes in judo and triathlon. Nelson Évora was the standard-bearer of the Portuguese delegation at the opening ceremony, having been the debut of a Benfica player in this prestigious role. The two Portuguese medals were won by the “red” athletes Nelson Évora and Vanessa Fernandes. Benfica’s Olympic Project, created in 2007, played an important role in this success.

In addition to Portugal, three more nations had Benfica athletes in their delegations: Argentina, the United States of America, and Guinea-Bissau. The Club had never qualified athletes of so many countries before.

Athlete SLB: 2007/08-2010/11

Competition and Result:

100m – qualifying round

Holder da Silva

Athlete SLB: 2000/01; 2003/04-2015/16

Competition and Result:

Triple jump - 1st place (gold medal)

Nelson Évora

Athlete SLB: 2007/08-2009/10

Result:

1st place (gold medal)

Ángel Di María

Athlete SLB: 2007/08

Result:

Group phase

Freddy Adu

Athlete SLB: 2007-

Competition and Result:

52 Kg halflightweight – 9th place (=tie)

Telma Monteiro

Athlete SLB: 2008-2016

Competition and Result:

17th place

Bruno Pais

Athlete SLB: 2006-

Competition and Result:

2nd place (silver medal)

Vanessa Fernandes

Nelson Évora

First gold!

Vanessa Fernandes

Silver that feels like gold

Ángel Di María with the gold medal
won at the Beijing Olympic Games

The Argentinean Di María was in the football team that renewed the Olympic title. The Benfica forward played an important role in several matches and, in the final against Nigeria, he had the honour of scoring the winning goal.

London 2012

27 July - 12 August

One hundred years after the tragic participation of Francisco Lázaro in the Olympic Games, the XXX Olympic Games took place. London was the first city to officially host the Olympic Games of the Modern Era three times, the previous times being in 1908 and 1948.

Portugal sent 77 athletes, including 32 women, to London. It was, to date, the biggest female contingent ever. Telma Monteiro was chosen as standard-bearer at the opening ceremony in recognition of her sporting curriculum, as, at the time, the athlete was second in the world ranking.

Thirteen Benfica athletes were present in this edition. The “red” canoeing made its debut and, representing foreign countries, Rodrigo (Spain) and Urreta (Uruguay) participated in the football tournament.

The Paralympic Games, which took place from 29 August to 9 September, counted for the first time with athletes from the Club. The four representatives were Firmino Baptista, Gabriel Potra, and José Monteiro, in athletics, and Simone Fragoso, in swimming.

Athlete SLB: 2011/12-2016/17

Competition and Result:

3000m steeplechase – 31st place (= tie)

Alberto Paulo

Athlete SLB: 2011/12-2015/16

Competition and Result:

200m – 39th place

Arnaldo Abrantes

Athlete SLB: 2007/08-2015/16

Competition and Result:

400m hurdles – 41st place

Jorge Paula

Athlete SLB: 2009/10-2015/16

Competition and Result:

Shot put – 15th place

Marco Fortes

Athlete SLB: 2006/07-

Competition and Result:

Long jump – 28th place

Marcos Chuva

Athlete SLB: 2010/11-2012/13

Competition and Result:

Marathon – 13th place

Marisa Barros

Athlete SLB: 2003/04-

Competition and Result:

50 Km race walk – 40th place

Pedro Isidro

Athlete SLB: 2010-2020

Competitions and Results:

K2 500m – 6th place

K4 500m – 6th place

Joana Vasconcelos

Athlete SLB: 2012-

Competitions and Results:

K1 200m – 8th place

K1 500m – 11th place

K4 500m – 6th place

Teresa Portela

Athlete SLB: 2011/12-2013/14

Result:

Group phase

Rodrigo

Athlete SLB: 2008/09-2009/10; 2011/12-2013/14

Result:

Group phase

Urreta

Athlete SLB: 2007-

Competition and Result:

-57 Kg lightweight – 16th place (= tie)

Telma Monteiro

Athlete SLB: 2008-2016

Result:

41st place

Bruno Pais

 




The London 2012 Olympic Games marked the first participation of Benfica representatives in canoeing. This sport had been introduced in the Club in 2010, as part of the Benfica Olympic project, with the signing of Joana Vasconcelos and, two years later, of Teresa Portela.

Joana Vasconcelos, in her Olympic debut, and Teresa Portela, in her second participation, obtained excellent results. They finished in the first eight places in three categories (Joana Vasconcelos in K2 500m, Teresa Portela in K1 200m, and, together, in K4 500m), thus winning three Olympic diplomas.

Joana Vasconcelos and Teresa Portela

Rio de Janeiro 2016

5 August - 21 August

For the first time, the Olympic Games were held in South America. These Summer Olympics took place entirely in winter, as Rio de Janeiro is in the southern hemisphere. Rugby sevens and golf were on the Olympic programme for the first time.

This edition featured unprecedented technology in various disciplines, in particular swimming, which for the first time used electronic counters inside the pool to count laps, replacing manual boards outside the water.

The Portuguese representation was the biggest ever, with 94 athletes, and obtained good results, being the second-best ranking ever. The bronze medal won by Benfica’s Telma Monteiro was the only one Portugal won in this edition. She was also the athlete chosen to be the standard-bearer at the closing ceremony.

In this edition of the Olympic Games, 20 Benfica athletes participated, in athletics, canoeing, judo, and triathlon. Two debuts with good results stood out. The triathlete João Pereira achieved the best result ever for the Portuguese men’s triathlon at the Olympic Games, crossing the finish line in 5th place, a result that left him very emotional. In canoeing, João Ribeiro teamed up with Emanuel Silva in K2 1000m and was just 28 hundredths away from winning a medal. It was the second-best Portuguese participation in Rio de Janeiro, after Telma Monteiro’s bronze medal.

Athlete SLB: 2016

Competitions and Results:

200m – qualifying round

4x100m relay – 6th place

Bruno Lins Barros

Athlete SLB: 2013/14-

Competition and Result:

Marathon – 16th place

Dulce Félix

Athlete SLB: 2014/15-2015/16

Competition and Result:

10 000m – 26th place

Carla Salomé Rocha

Athlete SLB: 2010/11-

Competition and Result:

1500m – 36th place

Marta Pen

Athlete SLB: 2015/16-2019/20

Competition and Result:

50 Km race walk – 36th place

Miguel Carvalho

Athlete SLB: 2000/01; 2003/04-2015/16

Competition and Result:

Triple jump – 6th place

Nelson Évora

Athlete SLB: 2003/04-

Competition and Result:

50 Km race walk – 32nd place

Pedro Isidro

Athlete SLB: 2012/13-2017/18

Competition and Result:

Marathon – 134th place

Ricardo Ribas

Athlete SLB: 2012/13-2015/16

Competition and Result:

Marathon – 123rd place

Rui Pedro Silva

Athlete SLB: 2011/12-2017/18

Competition and Result:

20 Km race walk – 53rd place

Sérgio Vieira

Athlete SLB: 2013/14-2016/17

Competition and Result:

Triple jump – 9th place

Susana Costa

Athlete SLB: 2009/10 -

Competition and Result:

Shot put – 29th place

Tsanko Arnaudov

Athlete SLB: 2012-

Competitions and Results:

K2 1000m – 4th place

K4 1000m – 6th place

João Ribeiro

Athlete SLB: 2012-

Competition and Result:

K1 5000m – 11th place

Teresa Portela

Athlete SLB: 2012-2017

Competition and Result:

-90 Kg middleweight – 17th place

Célio Dias

Athlete SLB: 2014-2018

Competition and Result:

-73 Kg lightweight – 17th place

Nuno Saraiva

Athlete SLB: 2007-

Competition and Result:

-57 Kg lightweight – 3rd place (bronze medal)

Telma Monteiro

Athlete SLB: 2013-

Result:

5th place

João Pereira

Athlete SLB: 2013-

Result:

35th place

João Silva

Athlete SLB: 2013-

Result:

44th place

Miguel Arraiolos

Telma Monteiro

The medal she fought so hard for

Athletics

A handful of good performances

Did you know that…?




The table tennis player Tiago Apolónia signed an institutional partnership with Benfica on 29 July 2016. It was the first time that an athlete linked to Benfica went to the Olympics in table tennis. Achieved the 17th place in singles and the 9th when teamed up with Marcos Freitas and João Monteiro.

For almost a century, 95 athletes of Sport Lisboa e Benfica, in 13 sports, left their mark in the history of the Olympic Games. In the utmost consecration, they reached the podium seven times, twice to receive the gold medal, twice for the silver and three times for the bronze.

Today, the history of Benfica is still being written by the athletes who participate in Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Follow their performances here.




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