The windsurfing career of four-time Brazilian Olympian (2008, 2012, 2016, 2020) Patricia Freitas is notable not only for its timespan, but also because she initially disliked the training conditions that accompanied the sport.


“I started windsurfing because my older sister loved it, but I began in a polluted lagoon in Rio, and I didn't love getting in the water,” Patricia said. “I have a tall skinny body type that is ideal for my sport, and I got good very fast. I also learned to enjoy the sport because of a very charismatic teacher and a good group of friends.”


At the time, windsurfing was not popular in Brazil and Patricia often had to navigate a traditionally male dominated sport, which sometimes made it difficult to find an inclusive environment. 

Patricia's family smiling and holding up a banner that says 'Freitas family team'


Another challenge Patricia faced was finding a windsurfing coach in Brazil with the experts needed to support her training, but luckily, she always had her family and club to support her journey.


“For my parents it was a little tricky because they are not sailors and didn’t fully understand the training. But my entire family was so supportive and always showed up to cheer for me and I’m so grateful for that,” Patricia said.

Photo of Patricia at the opening cermonies for the 2008 Olympic Games


Windsurfing has been an Olympic discipline since 1984 for men and 1992 for women. “The races consist of a trapezoid course and sailors are challenged to apply not only the technique of controlling and getting the greatest speed out of their equipment but also of choosing the best strategy by reading the wind gusts and currents specific to each racing course,” Patricia explained.


"Competing in my first Olympics was so exciting and something I hold close to my heart,” Patricia said. “I was the youngest sailor on the team and even got to compete against some of my idols like Alessandra Sensini, Barbara Kendall and Zofia Klepacka."

Image of Patricia windsuring on the open water


Patricia would go on to qualify for three more Olympic Games representing Team Brazil, making her a four-time Olympian in a sport that didn’t even include her gender until roughly thirty years ago.


It became about more than competition for Patricia though. The more she practiced and fell in love with her sport, the more her passion for the environment and sustainability grew. “When I’m out on the water, I go into a different headspace and let go of everything else,” she explained. “I grew to have a strong connection with nature, the wind and water and the warmth of the sun."


Patricia studied architecture in Rio de Janeiro where she obtained her bachelor's degree between the 2012 and 2016 Olympics. She is currently completing her master's degree in both architecture and sustainability. “That is the area where I see myself working in the future,” she said.


When Patricia heard the LA28 Olympic and Paralympic Fellowship program offers retired Olympians and Paralympians one-year paid placement in two functional areas, she jumped at the opportunity and joined the Games Planning and Delivery team for her first rotation in January of 2023. 

Picture of Patricia smiling next to her signature on the Olympian and Paralympian wall at LA28 offices


“Patricia has an intimate and unique perspective on aspects of the Games that few others on the team have first-hand experience with,” said Gabbie Clark, Senior Manager of Strategy and Operations at LA28. "Her ability to grasp complex projects quickly is likely a quality that she honed being an outstanding athlete and Olympian and is extremely valuable.”


For her second six-month rotation, Patricia could not be more excited to work with the sustainability team. “My interest in sustainability definitely comes from being a sailor because I spend so much time in the middle of nature, reading the wind and water, it has always been a strong connection for me,” Patricia said.

Image of Patricia smiling and playing smashball in the sand


“The Fellow program is an amazing opportunity to gain a deep understanding of the business of putting on the Games and the rotational nature provides athletes with a breadth of experiences and exposure to different aspects,” said Gabbie. 


For Patricia, her excitement around the 2028 Games stems from LA28’s sustainability efforts, “The LA28 Games will be the first Games in history to only utilize existing and temporary venues, that's a major game changer for the Movement," Patricia said.



There have been many winds of change in Patricia’s life recently, from relocating to Los Angeles and living among new people, cultures and challenges, to joining a new department at LA28. Through it all, she remains focused on the opportunity that lies ahead. “I am most excited about LA28 because we have an amazing opportunity to redefine what an Olympic and Paralympic legacy is and I get to be a part of that,” Patricia said.


To watch the interview with Patricia, please visit the LA28 YouTube Channel.