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Alana Maldonado won’t take off her gold medal until she sees her girlfriend back home

Maldonado won Paralympic gold five years after falling just short in Rio.

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Alana Maldonado shows off her Paralympics gold medal in judo.
Photo by KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP via Getty Images

Alana Maldonado won gold for Brazil in judo at the Tokyo Summer Paralympics, and she’s not taking off her medal until she reunites with her girlfriend back home to celebrate.

“It was five years of very hard work, a lot of uncertainty about whether we would be here,” Maldonado said after the match, according to JudoInside.com. “I went through a lot of personal things, which made me almost give up.”

Five years ago, Maldonado won silver in front of her home-country crowd.

“It’s not easy for us to go after medals. We have a life and we have to give it up in order to do this. But today I can say everything was worth it. I made my dream come true and those people who love me are very happy.”

Maldonado’s girlfriend is Wedja Santos, who is also a judoka. About a week ago, the two women celebrated their love for one another from afar, with Maldonado sharing this on an Instagram post by Santos:

“Most beautiful thing in my life. Thank you my love, thank you for arriving in my life and bringing so much joy and love. Thank you for being so beautiful, so wonderful. The owner of the smile and the most beautiful way... I love you so much and I miss you.”

Hopefully they’ll share some celebratory shots of their reunion with the rest of us.