Not far from where judo is taking place at the Olympic Games is the "City of God" favela. It's one of the most dangerous places in Rio de Janeiro.
It's also where Brazilian judoka Rafaela Silva is from.
On Monday, Silva – propelled by a boisterous crowd that erupted with excitement anytime she made a move on the mat – was nearly flawless while competing in the women's 57kg (125.5 lbs) Olympic tournament. She won all five of her matches without giving up a single score to earn Brazil's gold medal of these Games.
The morning started with Silva quickly throwing her first-round opponent, Germany's Miryam Roper, to the ground for two waza-aris within the first 45 seconds, giving Silva the immediate victory.
Her next match was against the No. 2 seed in the tournament, South Korea's Kim Jan-Di. Silva scored another waza-ari and held on to earn the win. She then won her quarterfinal bout by waza-ari as well.
Silva's toughest challenge came in the semifinals, where she was pitted against 2012 silver medalist Corina Caprioriu of Romania. With neither judoka able to get a score in regulation, it went to a golden score period. On multiple occasions, the crowd exploded in cheers when they thought Silva had scored the winning throw. In fact, at one point, the referee briefly awarded a waza-ari to Silva before it came off the board. After seven minutes of competition (four minutes of regulation, plus three minutes of golden score time), Silva executed a perfect counterattack on Caprioriu, slamming the Romanian to the ground for the winning waza-ari.
That moved Silva into the final against Mongolia's Sumiya Dorjsuren. About a minute into the match, Silva got on the board first – yet another waza-ari – and once again stood her ground for the remainder of the fight to hold on for the win.