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By Caroline.

Daiane Dos Santos (Brazil).

Daiane Dos Santos has been to Bercy for two years in a row, two years during which she has captivated us. On floor she shows both extraordinary athleticism and the flair of a born performer. When she dances to the Samba, you can sense all her Brazilian passion. I met and interviewed her.
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Brazilian flag.
First of all, can you tell us a little about yourself and your family.
-I come from a poor, and large family, and I live with my parents and two younger sisters in the southern district of Porto Alegre. My parents are from a Gaucho background. The Gauchos are a mixed race whose ancestors were a combination of Spanish or Portuguese with Indian, many of whom lived in Argentina or southern Brazil.
How did you discover gymnastics, and at what age?
-At the age of 11, whilst playing in a little square near my home, I was spotted by the trainer Cleusa de Paula from the Centre for Sports and Leisure (AACETE) in Porto Alegre. This is an association that enables disadvantaged children to become involved in sport. From there I was invited to come and train at a club. As I had good results, they suggested I join the Grêmio Nautico União (GNU), one of the most renowned clubs in Brazil.
In your gymnastics training, what have you found hardest to deal with? (living apart from your parents? Training? Having no time for relaxation?)
-At the beginning, it was really hard being apart from my family; I lived a long way from the training centre and had to go to the club on my own. Nowadays I'm used to it. Sport (and gymnastics in particular) can be stressful but opportunities come and you have to grab them with both hands. I've achieved a lot thanks to this sport and all the effort and training are definitely worth it.
Can you describe a typical day's training?
-I get up at 7:30 am, have my breakfast and set off at 7:40 for training. I train from 8:00 until noon. Then there's a pause for lunch. At the start of the afternoon I have a little rest. Training starts again from 4:00 pm until 6:00 pm, then I have university classes from 7:00 pm until 11:00 pm. At night I come home to sleep.
Can you describe a day without training in Brazil?
-I go out dancing with my friends, I love to party and listen to rap and international pop music. Or sometimes I simply go on walks with my family.
What kind of qualities do you think the ideal gymnast ought to have? And is there is a gymnast who is close to this ideal?
-She must be dedicated, disciplined, responsible, strong, and most of all, determined. One gymnast who is close to this ideal and whom I like a lot is Elena Zamolodchikova. My first role models in gymnastics were Nadia Comaneci and Luiza Parente (a Brazilian gymnast who placed 40th in the Barcelona Olympics in 1992). As for sport in general, I strongly admire Ayrton Senna who used to lead many charitable organisations.
We all know your physical attributes, but which areas do you still have to work on?
-Chiefly, my alignment and my coordination. However I am making progress in these areas and am starting to link movements more quickly.

Dos Santos interview page 2.
Dos Santos photos gallery.
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