What was one of the first things Simone Biles, three-time world all-around champion who’s already won Olympic team gold, did when she landed in Brazil for the Rio Olympics?
Get a hug from her so-called “Brazilian boyfriend,” Arthur Nory Mariano.
While the two are not actually dating, they’ve become good friends after competing at the same international meets, like the last two world championships. Biles says they have a similar attitude towards competing, and make a point to say “good luck and have fun every time we go out.”
Mariano, who goes by Arthur Nory on social media, is a 22-year-old from Sao Paolo, Brazil who’s become one of Brazil’s top all-around gymnasts. He qualified 11th into the men’s all-around final, which will take place on Wednesday, Aug. 10 at 3 p.m. ET and can be streamed live on NBCOlympics.com.
His full name is Arthur Nory Oyakawa Mariano; Oyakawa is his mother’s last name and Mariano is his father’s.
Mariano might be Brazil’s friendliest ambassador, at least on social media. His daily Snapchat stories (handle arthurnory) show what it’s like behind-the-scenes with the Brazilian gymnasts. With his ever-present smile and tendency to go shirtless, a knowledge of Portuguese is definitely not necessary to enjoy his photos and videos.
Mariano started his athletic career in judo, which his father did, but switched to gymnastics when he was 10 or 11. He was inspired by Daine dos Santos, a Brazilian female gymnast who won a gold medal on floor at the 2013 World Championships and competed at three Olympics.
His sweet and flirty friendship with Biles includes language lessons. He taught her how to say “beijos,” which means “kisses” and is a common greating in Brazil.
Mariano is one of Biles’ biggest fans, always cheering her on.
In addition to the all-around, Mariano hoped to contend for a medal on the horizontal bar at the Rio Olympics. In his training gym in Sao Paulo, pictures of three horizontal bar world champions–Japan’s Kohei Uchimura, Germany’s Fabian Hambuechen and the U.S.’ Danell Leyva–hang on the wall. He finished just off the podium in fourth at the 2015 Worlds, but didn’t qualify to the high bar final at the Olympics.