Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, August 13, 2016 – As the action at the volleyball and beach volleyball venues reaches fever pitch, Volleyball House continues to see the crème-de-la-crème of sporting personalities come through its doors.
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Past Olympic medal winners, Juliana Felisberta da Silva, Fabiana “Fabi” de Oliveira, Shelda Bede and Virna Dias – who came by to show their support at Mireya Luis’ book launch – were the latest guests to the Volleyball House on Saturday. The four women have a combined seven Olympic medals spanning across the last five Olympic Games.
Beach volleyball’s Juliana and Shelda have given Brazil three medals in the Olympic Games. Julian took bronze in London 2012 while Shelda took silvers in Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004.
They were joined by volleyball’s Fabi, who won a gold medal in Beijing 2008 and London 2012 and Virna who has bronze medals from Atlanta 1996 and Sydney 2000.
After a successful playing career Juliana now works for Fox Sports and has switched a volleyball for a commentator’s microphone at these Olympic Games and admitted that she missed playing.
“I miss not playing here but I am working. The competition has been really good, great matches and a great atmosphere. Everything is perfect and it’s the best ever beach volleyball venue at an Olympic Games,” Juliana said.
Another Brazilian veteran of the volleyball courts Carole Gattaz present at the Volleyball House was two-time silver medallist at the World Championships. “Volleyball deserves such a marvellous space during the Olympic Games", she said enthusiastically.
Hugo Conte, a symbol of pride for Argentina on volleyball courts across the world for over 16 years, also visited the Volleyball House today. If the name Conte sounds familiar, it is probably because volleyball continues to run in the family with son Facundo currently playing for the Agentinian national volleyball team.
But Saturday’s greatest source of inspiration had to be Adria Santos, Brazil’s most decorated Paralympian. Blind since birth, Santos has won 13 Olympic medals - four golds, eight silvers and one bronze. "I love sport, “ she said “It is a part of me, and volleyball is one of my favourite sports. I always get nervous when I attend a game. I almost play with the players when I'm cheering!"
Two time Olympic medal winner, André Heller from Brazil could definitely relate. "I come from a humble family, and my parents tried their best to give to me and to my sisters the best education,” he said.
“I believe that sports are more than medals. It's about educating people. In this Olympic moment, we have to understand what sports can do to people."
A tired but happy Chen Xue, 2013 beach volleyball world champion also dropped by the Volleyball House on Saturday, following a long journey to Rio from her hometown in China.
The FIVB’s Volleyball House is located on Copacabana beach, just a short walk away from the beach volleyball venue.