Slowed by a wrist injury, 2008 Olympian Jade Barbosa said she is enjoying life away from Brazil's national training center, but plans to be back at the Brazilian nationals in August.
Barbosa, who has necrosis of the right wrist, at the 2008 Olympic Games in Brazil
Barbosa, the 2007 world all-around bronze medalist, suffers from necrosis of the right wrist, which hindered her performance at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. Necrosis results from poor blood circulation in one area, which causes the bone tissue to die. Taking a break from training can help the area to heal, and surgery is also a method of treatment.
Barbosa, who turns 18 July 1, is aiming for a return to competition at the Brazilian National Championships, Aug. 21-23.
"I have no doubt I'll keep on doing gymnastics," she told Brazilian news service UOL. "In August I'll be competing at the Brazilian nationals. I don't know if it will be with only one arm, but I will compete."
Barbosa was named Brazil's 2007 Sportswoman of the Year after a breakout year, her first as a senior. At the 2007 Pan American Games in Rio de Janeiro, she won the vault gold and floor exercise bronze. At the 2007 World Championships in Stuttgart, Barbosa tied Italy's Vanessa Ferrari for the all-around bronze medal.
The Brazilian star has won five World Cup medals, including the gold on vault at the 2008 Moscow World Stars.
Barbosa said she is no longer in pain from the wrist, but that doctors warned the pain could return as she resumes full training for competition.
"What I don't want is to spend all year without a tournament. You lose the rhythm. And if I stay away for too long, it will feel like I never competed before," she said.
After four years at the national training center in Curitiba, Barbosa is training again in her hometown of Rio de Janeiro. She has been at odds with the Brazilian Gymnastics Confederation (CBG) since after the Olympics, when she made accusations that she and her teammates were exhausted and injured from overtraining and mistreatment.
Fifth in Stuttgart, the Brazilian women's team finished eighth in Beijing. Unable to compete at full difficulty, Barbosa finished 10th all-around and seventh on vault.
Barbosa at the national training center in Curitiba in 2006. After four years in Curitiba, Barbosa is training again in her hometown of Rio de Janeiro.
Barbosa said the CBG hid the severity of her wrist condition from her for months, and that she only learned of the necrosis when she returned to Rio and met with her own doctors.
As one of Brazil's biggest sports stars, Barbosa sells "JadeSport" T-shirts, socks and hats, which she said helps fund her medical treatment.
Barbosa, whose mother died several years ago, said she is enjoying living at home again with her father. She said she no longer "lives at the gym," and has time to spend with her friends, including her first boyfriend.
"Sometimes I eat dinner at my friends' homes, something I had not done before," she said. "Sometimes I go to parties. Man, how long did I go without a party in Curitiba? I had no social life. I have more time for me. I love drawing, and I come home and draw. Things I was not doing before."
The challenges she's faced have helped her mature as both a person and athlete, Barbosa said.
"I did learn at lot from it," she said. "Wanting to or not, I went through things most teenagers don't go through. I stayed away from home, traveled a lot and suffered lots of pressure because Pan American Games, Worlds and Olympics are all very demanding. I went to the Olympics with a totally different mindset, and I think that for the next one I'll be even better."
Continued Barbosa, "Experience isn't something you are born with it, you learn from it gradually. I used to be very impatient, had a short temper, kind of a bratty kid... I would miss a skill and be extremely mad, wouldn't wait or listen or reflect on what I did. Now I have grown because of all this, my mom, the CBG and all these other things."
External Link: Jade Barbosa's Online Store
International Gymnast Magazine Related Features
"Another Milestone for Brazil!" - Barbosa cover story (December 2007)
"Building Brazil" - Brazilian team cover story (March 2007)
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