2016-10-04 13:49:00 CEST
We pay homage to the Brazilian Olympic hero
He is one half of the all-conquering Brazilian duo that won the hearts of a nation at the Copacabana this summer and on Thursday this week the man known as the Magician will celebrate his 30th birthday.
It’s fair to say that Bruno Oscar Schmidt will be enjoying a well-earned rest from the beach after a hectic, stressful, but ultimately golden, glorious and magical season on the sand.
Together with Alison Cerutti, Bruno has enjoyed a summer to remember: not content with winning a famous Olympic gold, the pair retained their Swatch Beach Volleyball FIVB World Tour Finals title by storming to success in Toronto. If they were tired, it certainly didn’t show – they didn’t drop a single set all week at Polson Pier. They were in awesome form.
With the FIVB World Tour post-season awards due for release this week at the FIVB World Congress in Buenos Aires, many expect Bruno to walk away with yet more recognition to add to his growing collection of medals and trophies.
His CV over the past three seasons speaks for itself. Last year Bruno swept the board at the FIVB awards. He was voted both the Best Defensive and Offensive Player, won the Most Outstanding Player award and the Sportsman of the Year prize.
But can you believe it took Bruno until 2013 to finally win a gold medal on the FIVB World Tour when he won the Sao Paolo Grand Slam with former partner Pedro Solberg?
That tournament triumph came three years ago. Six months later, in April 2014, Bruno was stepping on to the sand with another man: Alison. In their debut tournament they won silver at the Xiamen Open, but in the months that followed their performances were mixed – they won just four medals in the next 12 tournaments.
But then something clicked and the pair began to find their form. While Alison’s brute force at the net wowed the crowds, it was Bruno’s ability to conjure up an unstoppable mix of offensive and defensive skills that began to get the fans on their feet. All of a sudden a player who had previously only won nine medals in 69 FIVB World Tour tournaments with four different partners was on a roll.
And there was no turning back. After back-to-back ninth-place finishes following the St. Petersburg Grand Slam in June last year, Bruno and Alison have been in imperious form. How does winning 18 medals in 23 tournaments – 14 of them gold – sound to you?
In amongst the many titles to their name are the World Championships, the Olympic Games and two Swatch World Tour Finals.
For Bruno, that’s not bad for a player who stands at just 6ft 1in on the sand – a man who was one of the smallest men to compete at the Olympics.
Who said height matters in the game? When you have the court prowess of a magician anything is possible…
Graudina/Kravcenoka and Liliana/Elsa prevailed in the Qualification Tournament in China
Italians Lupo/Nicolai and Latvians Plavins/Tocs have qualified to next year’s Summer Games
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