Ms. Silva is Afro-Brazilian, and from the community that is, at least internationally, synonymous with the violence of Rio de Janeiro. All of these piled up on Brazil's federal government's instability. Almost three days thereafter, all the Brazilian athletes could give their country was one medal, a silver, won by Felipe Wu in the men's 10-meter air pistol event.
Following early years of trouble that saw her getting into fights in the neighbourhood, Silva found structure to her life through judo and went on to attend the Instituto Reacao, founded by 2004 Olympics bronze medallist Flavio Canto. The host nation won their first gold of the Games through Rafaela Silva in Judo, while Novak Djokovic as he and Nenad Zimonjic crashed out in the men's doubles.
Judoka Rafaela Silva upset world number one Sumiya Dorjsuren to win hosts Brazil's first gold medal of the Rio Games on Monday.
Rafaela Silva's victory in the 57-kilo judo event was not merely Brazil's first gold medal.
"Olympic volunteers tasked with the job of keeping the aisles clear seemed helpless to stop the fans". The Guardian said. "In many cases the volunteers stood and watched themselves". It was indeed a symbolic moment for their country. But disaster struck as she was disqualified due to an illegal move in a preliminary round match. "She has always won her battles and she really deserved this win", said neighbor Marco Vinicius, 23.
"I counted on my coach, and on God, and support from my family and the Brazilian people".
Some Brazilians on social media mocked her and called her racial epithets, one saying that "the place of a monkey is in a cage". "That's what I dedicate my life to".
"Amazing, totally fantastic", said Tomaz Segundo, a doctor from the northeastern Brazilian city of Natal, a spectator at the match.
"She's a hero, coming from the poor area". She knocked over her first round opponent, Germany's Miryam Roper, in jus 46 seconds.
Brazil's Adilson Da Silva, center, hits off the first tee during golf practice at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Friday, Aug. 5, 2016. "Still, it's a violent area".
"He sort of noticed I had a skill".
Elsewhere, Colombian weightlifter Oscar Albeiro Figueroa Mosquera took home his country's first gold medal in the 62-kilogram after world record holder Chen Lijuan pulled out because of leg cramps. "I had a dream", Silva said.
Then came an emotional appeal to people in the favelas: "My message is that you have to follow your dreams".
The team's greatest star, Marta, won the FIFA World Player of the Year award five consecutive times; forwarder Cristiane is the highest Brazilian scorer in Olympic Games, including both male and female players; at 38, midfielder Formiga is playing her sixth Olympic Games - she has been in all editions since women's soccer was included in the Games.