Q&A WITH… TATJANA PINTO

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Country: Germany

Profession: Athlete- 100m/200m

Career highlights:

  • 3x Olympian and Olympic finalist (4 x 100m relay)
  • 2x World Championships finalist (4 x 100m relay)
  • 2018 and 2016 European Championships Bronze medallist (4 x 100m relay)
  • 2012 European Athletics Championships gold medallist (4×100m relay)

Over the three Olympic Games you have competed in, what has been your favourite Olympic moment?

Every Olympic Games I have competed in has its own special moment, but my debut in London 2012 was definitely something special. I was going as part of the 4x100m relay team, but during the season I also qualified for an individual 100m after I got a huge PB of 11.19s. I was 19 years old, and had always dreamed about going to the Olympics – it was a very magical moment! Then at the Games, standing in an Olympic Final with the relay, reaching 5th Place and witnessing a world record was insane.

However, maybe the journey to the Tokyo Games is my favourite one. It made me realise that everything you believe inside yourself you can achieve and that is the most important. I injured my hamstring quite badly at my first indoor meet and the prediction was that the season was kind of done – but I did not agree. I told myself I’m going to Tokyo! This journey was very tough physically, but the mental side was even harder. That’s why I am so proud of Tokyo and it will always hold a special place in my heart.

The relay exchanges can be tough – what goes through your mind as you anticipate that exchange?

The relay is always kind of fun, like a surprise bowl: you never know what to expect. The exchanges are definitely the most critical part of the relay. At practice I focus on technical aspects like making it very clear and clean, but in the race, I do not anticipate anything while doing it because there’s no time for it. I am just waiting for the baton and making sure to give it away  super-fast to my teammate.

We know representation and visibility are important when it comes to women in sport – what are your thoughts on this, and how does this tie into your work with Plan International?

Yes, this is a big topic. I feel like there is a change on the way, but still a lot more work to do. Today we still live in a world in which the rights for girls and boys aren’t equal. Plan International has a major focus on girls globally and encouraging the younger generation. It’s important to strengthen girls/ women from the beginning. We need to work on equality in every aspect in society so the question about representation and visibility in sport and elsewhere won’t be a big topic anymore.

You have a very interesting heritage with a father from Portugal and mother from Angola and then being born in Germany. What does your heritage mean to you?

Good question. It’s been an interesting journey until this day, also confusing at some point. It means a lot to me. I’m proud of it. I’m exploring, especially the motherland.

What was your first tattoo and when did you get it?

I thought about it the first time when I was 12/13 years old. I couldn’t decide what I should do first, so, I told myself if I would go to the Olympics one day, I would start with the Olympic rings. I made my Olympic debut in 2012 and got the rings after the Games.

Where are you your happiest?

Oh, there are a few. Like sprinting 😊. Traveling all over the world. Being in the sun. Eating good and delicious food. Doing fun stuff. Being outside in nature. Being around lovely, peaceful, inspiring and joyous people. Also being for myself. Spending time with my gorgeous little cheetah cat…

Last time you were scared?

I honestly cannot remember. I try to be fearless😁

What foods do you not eat?

No mushrooms in food at all. Nope.

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