Between solar and lunar hero: a cartographic study of Brazilian Olympic athletes in the social imaginary

Katia Rubio, Rafael Veloso, Lucia Leao


Sport, understood as a social phenomenon and object of research, brings together the efforts of the most diverse fields of academic knowledge production. In the present paper, we propose a cartographic study of the images that are present in the biographical narratives of four Brazilian Olympic athletes, exploring their interconnections, subtleness and ambiguities. We defend that the study of the images of the nocturnal heroes, normally placed in the background by media processes, can act as important amplifier for the understanding of the complexities that constitutes the social imaginary of the sport phenomenon. Our argument is that, in their trajectories, these athletes manifest solar, lunar and “in between” hero experiences. The theoretical framework connects three previous studies: the research on the theme of the nocturnal hero; Rubio’s investigation on “Brazilian Olympic Heroes”; and the cartographic method for the investigation on the processes of image and imaginaries’ creation proposed by Leao.


Social imaginary; Hero; Sport; Cartography; Brazil

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Im@go. A Journal of the Social Imaginary - Biannual - Edizioni Mimesis