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A Brazilian footballer will make history at the Olympics- by being the first player to play in every tournament since the sport was recognised as an Olympic event in 1996

A Brazilian footballer will make history at the Olympics- by being the first player to play in every tournament since the sport was recognised as an Olympic event in 1996.

Miraildes Maciel Mota, known around the world as Formiga, is 43 and when Brazil come up against China in their first match it will be 25 years to the day since she played her first game at the Olympics.

On that occasion Brazil earned a 2-2 draw with then world champions Norway in the opening women’s football fixture in Atlanta, USA on July 21, 1996.

The midfielder is no stranger to breaking records either, in 2019 she became the first player male or female to play in seven FIFA World Cups, and in December last year became the first South American footballer to win 200 international caps when she featured in an 8-0 win over Ecuador.

And as Formiga gears up for the Tokyo games, which kick-off this weekend ,she will also be joining a special group of 31 athletes who have taken part in seven or more Olympic Games.

While, only three women in history have competed at more Olympics Games than her.

They are Canadian coxswain Lesley Thompson, German/Italian canoeist Josefa Idem and Georgian shooter Nino Salukvadze. But perhaps most impressively, Formiga's imminent appearance in Japan, will make her the first seven-time Olympian of either sex in a team sport.

Formiga was born in Salvador in the north-east state of Bahia in 1978 when at the time it was still illegal for women to play football.

A 1941 decree by the National Sports Council in Brazil declared that women “will not be allowed to practice sports incompatible with the conditions of their nature”, which was in line with similar bans in England and Germany at the time.

Thankfully for Formiga the ban was overturned in 1981, when she was a child, allowing her to embark on her hugely successful career.

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