Rio de Janiero, Brazil, August 20, 2016 – Since its opening 16 days ago, the Volleyball House has seen hundreds of sporting celebrities, media, broadcasters, partners and members of the volleyball family come through its doors. Its Carioca hospitality and ambience made the House the place to be on Copacabana beach during the Olympics. It seems fitting then that on its last day of operations, the Volleyball House welcomed Rio native, Heloísa Eneida Pinheiro
Heloísa ‘Helô’ Pinheiro or ‘The Girl from Ipanema’ was the inspiration for the song written by Tom Jobim and Vinicius de Moraes in 1962, which has since received worldwide fame. Wife of Fernando Pinheiro, a former volleyball player and an emeritus member of the Rio de Janeiro Volleyball Federation, Helô used to play volleyball regularly at clubs or at the beach when she was young. “Besides the hospitality, the legacy left by FIVB in refurbishing this school is extremely important for the kids and for the city Rio de Janeiro,” she remarked.
Indeed, the idea of the Volleyball House was first and foremost conceived to give back to the city that has hosted the Olympic Games and put the sport of volleyball on the worldwide map. The house required months of renovation, which the school’s 600 students, its teachers and employees will benefit from following the conclusion of the Olympic Games.
However, within a few days of its opening, the House had quickly established itself as a hub for the volleyball and beach volleyball community to meet and catch up in between matches.
But it was the daily development activities that had a central role in attracting people to the Copacabana beach to play, learn and meet volleyball and beach volleyball greats like Brazil’s Giba and Mauricio Lima, USA’s Randy Stoklos, Serbia’s Vladimir Grbic and China’s Xue Chen among others.
The development activities benefitted greatly from the investment of top level athletes and coaches like Luizomar de Moura from Brazil, who spent valuable hours giving children a taste of what the sport has to offer.
The Courts also provided an opportunity to highlight the concept of ‘Volleyball Your Way’ through Sitting Volleyball exhibition matches
events that showed the versatility and ingenuity of the sport. Keeping up with the gruelling schedule of activities would not have been possible without the participation and commitment of the 13 volunteers who were always on hand to assist with operations.
The Volleyball House’s success comes not only in terms of what it will leave behind but also in what it has done to pave the way for the longer term development of the sport of volleyball. During the Rio 2016 Olympics, the Volleyball House provided the perfect venue for the signing of an MOU between the FIVB and the Special Olympics
, as well as the formalisation of an agreement with Snow Volley
and the creation of the Athletes Commission
. These initiatives are an important first step in promoting the diversity of the sport and in ensuring that the FIVB’s 9 Goals are being furthered in the long term.
For a first time initiative during an Olympic Games, the Volleyball House came a long way in a short time showing that a great deal can be achieved with a lot of hard work and creativity.
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