- The games
- Organising Committee
- Rio de Janeiro
- Take part
For the Beach Volleyball fans, the notion of individuality is relative. On the bleachers, with the ocean as background, the interaction is complete. The sun and the salt blends with the human warmth of thousands of people. On the sand, there are two players, but only one identity. For those who have followed the origins of the sport in Brazil, in the 1980s and 1990s, there can be many Guilhermes. Guilherme and Pará, there is only one.
Six years of partnership brought titles and good memories. They were the frontrunners in a moment of change, when the inclusion in the Olympic programme since 1996 made Beach Volleyball famous worldwide. They won the gold medal in the 1997 World Championship, in the United States, and in the 1998 World Circuit.
“I watched the Atlanta 1996 Games as a spectator seating on the bleachers. It was a milestone for my sport. In 1996, I have already been playing as a professional for four years. To all Beach Volleyball professionals, those have been much expected Games”, recalls Guilherme, a current Sport Competition Coordinator, one of the functional areas of the Rio 2016™ Organising Committee Sports Department.
Together with his partner, he didn’t participate in the Sydney 2000 Games by a whisker. Third double in the Brazilian ranking, just the first two had a guaranteed place. He has retired before Athens 2004.
Outside the courts, inside the Games
If the Olympic experience was not possible inside the courts, outside them the spirit was the same. TV commentator yet in Sydney 2000, Guilherme Marques followed the evolution of the sport in the last decade as a passionate analyst. He couldn’t imagine that, after the victory of Rio on October 2, 2009, he would have the chance of debuting in the Games as part of the organisation.
“The last five years, I have worked as a representative of imported sports equipment. In the day of the victory, I did not think that I would be so affected by that moment as I was one year and half later (giggles), when I have joined the Committee. Actually, it has a general impact. It has a cascade effect. The ones working or involved in sport and health in anyway feel the effects of the Olympic bid victory”, he tells.
Working in the Organising Committee for three months, the former athlete is responsible for nine disciplines: six of them are Olympic (Football, Volleyball, Beach Volleyball, Rugby, Handball and Archery) and three are Paralympic (Archery, Sitting Volleyball, and Wheelchair Rugby). His role is to be a reference point so much for the external clients as for the Committee workforce in terms of planning and information.
Guilherme is part of a group composed of six coordinators responsible for the 28 Olympic sports and the 22 Paralympic sports. Later, each sport will have its own manager. The Olympic medallist Ricardo Prado is in charge of the Sport Competition area as a whole, under Agberto Guimarães Sport Director management.
Chineses on the track to the top
During his career as an athlete, Brazil and United States have dominated the Beach Volleyball scenario worldwide. The new phase brings different perspectives, and a brand new world appears in the sand.
“The work of China for the Beijing 2008 is bearing fruit till now, both in men’s and women’s teams. Referring to women, there is a double among the three first ones in the world ranking. Referring to men, there is one among the five first ones. And the players are tall, a feature not typical of Asiatic people. With the support of today’s structure behind them, they will definitely give the opponents a headache”, analyses Guilherme.
Brazilian Beach Volleyball precursor, there comes the time to let the name make part of another history. The meaning of being part of the Olympic movement is well-known. The difficulties, as well. In the Rio 2016™ Organising Committee, he is surrounded by high-level professional and fans. Once again, one of the greatest Beach Volleyball players won’t be alone.