Close to a hundred people gathered at Lisbon airport on 9 August to welcome the Olympic champion as he returned to Portugal from Tokyo.

After crossing the arrivals gate, and before answering the journalists’ questions, Pichardo paused to listen to the national anthem, played by members of the PSP Symphony Orchestra.

Unemotional, as is natural for him, Pichardo said he was happy with the warm reception he was given and surprised for having been elected to carry the Portuguese flag at the closing ceremony of the Olympic Games.

“It was incredible, a great emotion to have been received in such a magnificent way. My only way to thank the way this country has welcomed me is to bring medals and great results. I was not expecting to be chosen by the Olympic Committee of Portugal to carry the flag at the closing ceremony. It was very emotional and a great responsibility for me too”, he said.

And the Olympic champion “does not want to stop here” with him stating that he already has his eye on the next prize – to maintain his Olympic title in Paris.

“I will continue to work to win more medals, whether Olympic, world or European. I look forward to being received in this way again three years from now. I will continue to work to make this happen”, he guaranteed.

“It has not been easy. I have been working for many years to find a good shape that looks easy. I won’t stop there, I’ll keep working to win more medals and for the next Olympics to see the same result. My only way to thank Portugal is by bringing medals and achieving great results. That’s what I am focusing on”, he concluded.