Nelson Évora was born in April 20th, 1984, in Ivory Coast. But since his father was from Cape Verde, Nelson got Cape Verde's nationality. As his father, Paulo, began to work early in his life as a ships foreman , he could reform early too, and, wishing to give a good education to his children, he brought them to Portugal. At that time, Nelson was 5 years old.
The destiny wanted that Évora's family fixed in Odivelas, on the floor upon João Ganço, former national record-holder and first man in Portugal to pass over 2m in the high jump. João Ganço had three little children and David, one year older than Nelson, became his best friend. One day, João Ganço, seeing them playing in the street, suggested Nelson to start practicing athletics, following David's example, and, just like that, Nelson sportive career was started.
Nelson began, like almost everyone in Portugal, to participate in road competitions included in Loures' Tournament, and he and David dominated their step.
At the age of 10, Nelson joined Odivelas Futebol Clube, and jumped 1,64m in high jump... when his height was around 1,40 m.
At the age of 13 he improved his mark in high jump to 1,75m and in long jump to 5,50m. That meant no rivals at his level... not even in combined events.
As Nelson and David leaded the sights, Benfica invited them to join the team, and, thanks to the better training conditions, Nelson started to reveal his natural talent and physical skills to the jumps.
When he was 15, he raised a fantastic mark in high jump: 1,98m. In long jump, he did 6,46m, and in the first triple experience, he jumped 14,35m. A terrible injury in his knee made him change to horizontal jumps. That's why he improved no longer in high jump. Otherwise, at 16 he almost reached 7m and 15m barrier (in long and triple jump).
At the age of 17, he represented Portugal for the first time at European Youth Olympic Festival, bringing a gold medal in long jump. He jumped 7,55m in long jump and 16,15m in triple jump.
When Nelson turned 18 years old in 2002, he chose to become portuguese and he got second nationality. He justified that because his life is all here..., he feels like he is more portuguese than cape verdean or marfinese.
As a junior, Nelson joined F.C. Porto and showed himself as an hot prospect's athlete at world level. In 2002, he participated in the Junior World Championships in Kingston, Jamaica, and placed in 6th in triple jump. In 2003, he was double junior European's champion in Tampere (Finland): in long jump, 7,83m and in triple jump, 16,43m
Many invitations from north american universities started to appear, but Nelson, a homemade young guy and really connected to his friends and coach, didn't accept them. Without his family around, he isn't totally happy because, for him, “having love nearby, is the most important...”
In 2004, he returned to his heart's team, Sport Lisboa e Benfica, but that was a year bungled by an injury that almost stopped his first presence in the Olympic Games which took place in Athens. However, he had a fantastic recovery just in time to participate in the Games. There, even if Nelson hadn't qualified for the final, the presence was worthy for Nelson to win experience and to feel the great environment that this kind of competitions has in itself.
In 2005, Évora won the bronze medal in the triple jump with 16,89m at Under 23 European's Championships, in Erfurt (Germany) and he participated in the World Championships in Helsinki, but, there, he missed the final for very little...being the 14th in the qualifyings. During that year, he returned to his first passion, helping his team, Benfica, and he jumped 2,07m without any specific training...
In the following season, Nelson jumped with no doubts to the big world circuit when he was world leader for a couple of weeks in Indoor Season with a jump of 17,19m in Moscow. In that day, he beat the portuguese national record that belonged to Carlos Calado, bronze medalist in Edmonton 2001, in long jump. Also in Moscow, he participated in the Indoor World Champs, in which he got the 6th place. In Gotenburg, in the European's Championships, he took the 4th place with 17,07m (during the qualifying, Evora jumped 17,23m – a new national record). He also participated for fun in the long jump and got the 6h position with 7,91m.
In 2007, Evora had a long season. He participated in Indoor European's Championships in Birmingham, in the triple jump, in which he got the 5th place. In that competition, Nelson got an injury in the first attempt and he couldn't fight for the podium. He became, for the first time, a regular presence in the biggest European's meetings, and in Madrid, he set a new personal best: some impressive 17,51m. And in August, at Osaka, Nelson Évora entered to history, becoming world champion in the triple jump with a huge mark, 17,74m (2nd world's best mark of the year and new national record. 2007 was the year of the big confirmation in seniors from whom had already been one of the best youths...
In the year of 2008, Nelson Évora set the Olympic Games as the unique goal of the season and that's why he faced the Indoor World Championships of Valence as just a phase, classifying himself in the 3rd place, far from his normal marks (17,27m). Till the Olympic Games, Nelson was getting closer to the ideal performance and in Beijing, he fulfill one of his dreams of child: be Olympic Champion. Under bad weather conditions, Évora always replied to his competitors, winning the gold with 17,67m.
In 2009, Nelson Évora gave up from the European Indoor Championships in order to prepare the Outdoor season. He would started that season brightly, with 17,66m in Brazil (Belém), and in the European Team Championships, with 17,59m beating his main rival - Philips Idowu. But in the World Championships of Berlin, Idowu had his "revenge" and Nelson wasn't able to "reply" like he wanted that day, winning the silver medal with 17,55m. It was his first silver medal and it was received with joy and fair play.
Just 25 years old, Nelson Évora has already won the major titles than an athlete can achieve during a lifetime but, don't make the mistake of thinking that Évora will stay by here... No way, because “show must go on...”
Texto de Rafael Lopes