Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, August 10, 2016 – Making its debut at the Rio 2016 Olympics, the Volleyball House has shown being a pioneer is all about hard work and commitment. And Wednesday’s visitors to the house know how much grit and determination is needed to be the first to succeed and pave the way for others in the field.
Beach volleyball’s Randy Stoklos, Sinjin Smith, Natalie Cook and Kerri Pottharst have played front and centre roles in the sport’s Olympic evolution. Of the four, Kerri, Natalie and Sinjin took part in the Atlanta Games, where beach volleyball made its debut appearance. It was here that Kerri and Natalie won the first beach volleyball medal of the Games, a bronze, and in doing so became the first Australians to take home a medal in the event. Building on this success, the two went on to take the country’s first gold medal in beach volleyball at the Sydney edition of the Games in 2000 in front of an electric home crowd.
Five-time Beach Volleyball World Champions, Randy and Sinjin won the very first international FIVB sanctioned beach volleyball tournament, held in 1987, at Ipanema Beach in Rio de Janeiro.
Since its opening last Friday, the Volleyball House has been become a hub for the entire volleyball family including athletes, coaches and the FIVB’s partners coming together and enjoying the Olympic volleyball experience in Rio.
Stoklos, Smith, Cook and Pottharst were at the FIVB’s Volleyball House right by the iconic Copacabana Beach for a Volleyball Australia party, which was also attended by IOC Vice President John Coates and current stars of Australian beach volleyball. Its another first for team Australia as Taliqua Clancy, Mariafe Artacho and Nicole Laird are all taking part in their first Olympics, with Taliqua's partner Louise Bawden competing for a second time after finishing 19th at London 2012 with Becchara Palmer.
Also visiting the Volleyball House were members of Italy’s women’s volleyball team including captain Antonella Del Core, Monica de Gennaro and Nadio Centoni.
Adding a touch of glamour to the Volleyball House on Wednesday was Brazilian super model Fernanda Lima, who presented the Drawing of Lots for the FIFA World Cup in December 2013. The TV presenter Fernanda Lima with her husband Rodrigo Hilbert and twin sons John and Francis, accompanied by their friend Peter Henry, made a quick stop at the Volleyball House before going to the Olympic Beach Volleyball Arena just a few hundred metres up the road.
Fernanda, who is used to regularly playing beach volleyball with her family, was excited to be part of the Olympic experience.
"It's special to watch a high-level beach volleyball match during the Olympic Games in our city. I'm going to support Brazil to win the gold medal!" she said.