Brazil are the reigning Olympic Champions, World Champions, World Cup winners, World League title holders and Grand Champions Cup holders. In short, the dominant force in Men’s Volleyball.
Eight years ago, they fell short of the lofty standards of today, finishing sixth at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney.
This triggered important changes ahead of the 2001 season.
Bernardo Rezende, nicknamed Bernardinho, who had spent six years coaching the Brazilian Women’s National Team, was picked as coach of the Brazilian Men’s National Team.
The effect was immediate – and long lasting.
During the first season with Bernardinho in 2001, Brazil won three gold medals. In 2002, Brazil finished second in the World League after losing the title playing at home against Russia. However, in that same season, the Brazilians got their revenge by claiming the World Championship for the first time, beating the Russians in an epic five-setter in Buenos Aires.
The beginning of the 2003 season started with a bang for the World Champions. Brazil clinched the World League gold medal for a third time.
The year ended with Brazil conquering all at the World Cup in Japan, 11 straight wins giving the South Americans their first triumph in the tournament and entry into the Athens Games.
In 2004, Bernardinho led the Brazilians to their fourth World League title before guiding them in August to their second Olympic gold medal. Italy were beaten 3-1 in the final.
Things would only get better in 2005, with the Olympic Champions gathering three golds.
There was no letting up in 2006. Brazil grabbed gold in the World League and retained their World Championship title in Japan against Poland. Giba was elected Most Valuable Player, Dante the best attacker.
In 2007, an astonishing sixth-straight World League title was wrapped up, with the Russians beaten in the final match. Setter Ricardinho was named best player, while middle blocker Gustavo was best blocker.
Then came the South American Championship gold medal, which Brazil won again to make it 26 straight triumphs in the competition since 1951.
The 2007 season ended on a high when a Giba-inspired Brazil retained the World Cup in Japan, bouncing back from an opening loss to the USA to win the next 10 games and qualify for the Beijing Olympic Games.
Bernardo Rezende, nicknamed “Bernardinho," was born in Rio de Janeiro. He is 48-years-old, and was in charge of the Women’s National Team from 1994 to 2000. In 2001, Rezende became Head Coach of the Brazilian Men’s National Team.
Rezende played Volleyball from 1979 to 1986 in Rio de Janeiro. As a player, he won the bronze medal in the 1981 World Cup in Japan and the silver medal in the FIVB World Championship in Argentina in 1982 and Los Angeles 1984 Olympic Games.
In 1988, he stopped playing to work as assistant coach to Bebeto de Freitas at the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul. Two years later, he became the Head Coach of Perugia Women in Italy, where he stayed until 1992. In 1993, still in Italy, he took charge of Modena’s team. By the end of that season, Rezende returned to Brazil and in 1994 started his victorious work as Head Coach of the Brazilian Women.
That year, Brazil placed second in the World Championship, and won the World Grand Prix. In 1996, the team won the bronze medal at the Atlanta Olympic Games, and also the gold medal in the World Grand Prix. In 1998 Rezende led the Brazilians to a South American title, earned qualification for the World Championship and bronze in the World Grand Champions Cup in Japan.
In 1999, Bernardinho won the gold medal at the Pan-American Games in Winnipeg, a silver medal in the World Grand Prix, gold in the South American Championship for the third time, and bronze in the World Cup. In 2000, he led Brazil to third place in the World Grand Prix and also at the Olympic Games in Sydney.
After this success Rezende accepted the challenge of commanding the Brazilian Men in 2001. The choice could not have been better. Bernardinho led the team to memorable victories such as the first place in the 2001 and 2003 World League and the gold medal in the World Championship in 2002.
In 2003, Bernardinho’s star shone even stronger than previously. Once again, he was the one in charge of the team who won the World League, in Madrid, and the World Cup, in Japan. The team also won the bronze medal in the Pan-American Games, in Dominican Republic.
In July 2004, the Brazilian claimed their fourth World League title. In August, Brazil’s Men won their second Olympic gold medal of its history in men’s volleyball in Athens. Bernardinho then returned at the end of the year to Superliga to be Head Coach of Rexona-Ade.
In 2005, still coaching the Brazilian Men, he earned another four international medals: gold in the World League again and also in the South American Championship and FIVB World Grand Champions Cup in Japan. The coach also won silver in the America’s Cup.
In the 2006 season, he won the World League for the fifth time, and the FIVB World Championship for the second time.
The success didn’t let up in 2007. Victory in the World League for a sixth time and victory in the World Cup, the two main tournaments, but also success in the Pan-American Games and South American Championship. He also led a young team to second place in the America’s Cup.