Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, August 4, 2016 - When one talks about this seaside city, it usually is about the iconic Copacabana and Ipanema beaches, the Christ the Redeemer statue atop Mount Corcovado and Sugarloaf, a granite monolith with cable cars to its summit.
The site of the world’s largest Carnival festival featuring parade floats, flamboyant costumes and samba, the city was founded by the Portuguese on March 1, 1565 and was named São Sebastião do Rio de Janeiro, in honour of St. Sebastian, the saint who was the namesake and patron of the then Portuguese Monarch D. Sebastião.
Famed Copacabana with the construction of the beach volleyball venue
But for the next three weeks, Rio de Janeiro will be the site of the sixth renewal of the largest beach party in Olympic history with 96 players from 24 countries making up 48 teams as the featured performers in the Rio 2016 Summer Games on iconic Copacabana where a 12,000-seat venue has been constructed.
While Rio de Janeiro becomes the first South American country to host an Olympics, Brazil has been a mainstay in staging FIVB World Tour events starting with the first-ever internationally-sanctioned tournament in February 1987. Since then, Rio de Janeiro has organised another 16 men’s and 10 women’s tournaments.
The current Copacabana site also hosted the 2003 FIVB World Championships where Brazilians Emanuel Rego/Ricardo Santos and Americans Misty May-Treanor/Kerri Walsh Jennings topped the men’s and women’s podiums, respectively. Two years later, the iconic beach was the site of the 2005 FIVB under-21 world championships.
Competition opens here Saturday morning with the first of 108 matches to be played in the Rio 2016 Olympics featured Clemens Doppler and Alexander Horst of Austria meeting Adrian Carambula and Alex Ranghieri of Italy in a Pool A men’s match. Alison Cerutti and Bruno Oscar Schmidt will be the first Brazilian pair to play as the favorites to win the men’s gold medal meet Josh Binstock and Sam Schachter of Canada in another Pool A match.
“We are excited,” said the 28-year old Carambula, who was named in 2015 as the top first-year player on the FIVB World Tour. “We are expecting a stadium full of people. We hope to have them on our side and bring the energy to the match. This is the first-time I am going to experience something like this. So, I have an open mind and will be ready to take whatever feeling comes to my brain and my body and just play with it.”
Adrian Carambula (left) and Alex Ranghieri of Italy
Dubbed the “Coliseu on Copacabana”, the construction for the Beach Volleyball compound featuring mid-May. A second competition court has also been constructed with two warmup and five training courts available. With competition being played over a 13-day period starting Saturday and concluding August 18, the tickets for Beach Volleyball rank among the “hottest” for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
With Rio de Janeiro hosting an FIVB-sanctioned Beach Volleyball event for the 18th-time, the South American city ties Klagenfurt (Austria) in staging the most international events. Brazilian pairs have won 25 of the 51 men's medals given out to date in Rio. The women from Brazil have won 17 of the 30 Rio women's medals. Included in the medal total are the podium placers from the 2005 FIVB under-21 World Championships on Copacabana.
German, Polish and American medal winners at the 2016 Rio Grand Slam