Maria Lenk, a pioneer of Brazilian swimming and one of the most important names in the sport in the country, is the third person honored in the 2022 class of the ‘Grandes Ídolos do Esporte’ collection, an exclusive series of medals in silver, bronze, golden bronze and cupronickel, an initiative of Memorabilia do Esporte in partnership with Casa da Moeda do Brasil.
Lenk has a trajectory marked by achievements and records: she was the first woman to compete in an edition of the Olympic Games (Los Angeles, in 1932) and was also in Berlin (1936). In 2000, Lenk went to Munich, Germany, to compete in the Masters World Championship (85-90 category) and came back with five gold medals: 100m breaststroke, 200m freestyle, 200m backstroke, 200m medley and 400m freestyle. The performance earned him the nickname ‘The Mark Spitz of the Third Age’, a reference to the American who had won seven Olympic gold medals in the same city. In addition, she was also champion of the Crossing from São Paulo to Nado on four occasions.
In 1988, the athlete was elected Top 10 Master Athletes in the World. In the same year, she became a member of the International Swimming Hall of Fame. Maria Lenk died in April 2007. Months earlier, in January of that year, she received a tribute from the city of Rio de Janeiro, with the Aquatic Park of the 2007 Pan American Games being named after her (Parque Aquatico Maria Lenk). Lenk also joined the ’10 Great Women Who Marked the History of Rio’ list in 2015.
Maria Lenk, daughter of German immigrants and born in São Paulo, is the eleventh ‘Legend’ of national sport portrayed in the collection, which features limited and exclusive series of medals in silver, gold bronze, bronze and cupronickel, already on pre-sale. through the Clube da Medalha and Memorabilia do Esporte websites. The ‘Great Idols of Sport’ collection aims to rescue memories and exalt trajectories of icons in history, extolling achievements and ephemeris, paying tribute to the biggest names in Brazilian sport.
“Maria Lenk would be very happy with this tribute, to be remembered for her trajectory, for her pioneering spirit and for being part of the history of Brazilian sport. This is an initiative that values idols, people who are references of our country, a source of pride for the Brazilians, and keeping this memory alive, more than important, is necessary. On behalf of the entire Lenk family, and their descendants, I thank Memorabilia do Esporte and Casa da Moeda for the affectionate tribute paid to my aunt”, said Francisco Silva Júnior, nephew of the athlete.
Produced by Casa da Moeda do Brasil and minted with a special ‘proof’ finish, the silver (+31g), golden bronze (+24g) and bronze (+24g) medals have a diameter of 40mm, while the cupronickel line is 30mm. The 40mm series have a mirrored back, with limited and numbered runs, and certificates of authenticity from the CMB, in addition to the piece’s case. The cupronickel units are sold with an exclusive card from the collection.
The Class of 2022 has already paid tribute to Adhemar Ferreira da Silva, ‘Magic’ Paula and now Maria Lenk. It will also feature names like Arthur Zanetti, Olympic champion in artistic gymnastics, Maurren Maggi, Olympic champion in athletics and Giovane Gávio, two-time Olympic champion in volleyball. All series have medals in silver, golden bronze, bronze and cupronickel. In 2021, the collection paid tribute to Robert Scheidt, Maria Esther Bueno, Rodrigo Pessoa, Jackie Silva, Sandra Pires, Daniel Dias, Hortência, Cesar Cielo and Daiane dos Santos.