Brazilian Volleyball, just like
its culture and lifestyle, is full of passion and
flavour and it is these qualities the womenís
national side will be counting on as they attack the
2004 Olympic Games. Brazil, ranked third in the
world, are currently easing through a rebuilding
phase and with that, they have attracted a lot of
off-court attention as the team looks to return to
its glory days of the 1990s.
The turning point was in 2003. Following a seventh
place finish at the annual World Grand Prix, coach
Marco Motta was replaced by Josť Roberto Lages
Guimar„es, an Olympic champion in Barcelona 1992
with the menís national team.
The first move by Guimar„es was to bring back many
players who had been away from the courts for a long
time. Erika Coimbra, Elis‚ngela Oliveira, Fernanda
Venturini, Fof„o and Walewska Oliveira, who all
helped Brazil claim bronze at the Sydney 2000
Olympics came to the rescue and led the team to the
silver medal at the 2003 World Cup. That fantastic
result came on the back of the Brazilians winning
the South American Championship in Colombia all of
which means Brazil have jumped to third on the FIVB
world ranking list.
In his team reshuffle, Guimar„es didnít forget the
new generation. He is also working with some young
talent in the way of middle blockers Valeskinha and
Fabiana Claudino. Fabiana,for example, won the gold
medal at the 2003 Junior World Championships in
Thailand where she received the best attacker award.
The Brazilian womenís team are determined to emulate
the immense success their male counterparts are
currently enjoying and on the basis of the quick
progress made thus far, their collective ambition
may be fulfilled at the Olympic Games.
Any podium finish will add to a healthy trophy
cabinet which stocks two Olympic bronze medals
(Atlanta 1996, Sydney 2000), a silver in the S„o
Paulo World Cup (1994), six Grand Prix medals (three
golds, in 1994, 1996, and 1998; two silvers,in 1995
and 1999, and a bronze, in 2000), three World Cup
medals (silver in 1995 and 2003, bronze in 1999) and
24 championship medals, 13 of them gold.