London 2012
“I honestly can’t see me continuing to play professionally after London 2012, so that is where my life is at right now," said Garcia
A two-time Olympian already with former partner Hilda Gaxiola she is looking to make it three from three at the Continental Cup later this year
Garcia is a veteran on the SWATCH World Tour, and is competing in her 12th international season
The 27-year-old is a three-time All-America indoor player at the University of Southern California (USC), where she twice picked up NCAA national collegiate titles
Candelas switched from a star indoor player to playing beach volleyball for her country. "I realised that if I was going to make it to the Olympics it would be on the beach"
Mayra Garcia (left) and Bibiana Candelas from Mexico are have been competing on the SWATCH World Tour together for four years

 

Mexican pair search for London dream

Lausanne, Switzerland, May 8, 2012 – Besides both being Olympians from Mexico and representing their country together on countless occasions, Bibiana Candelas and Mayra Garcia each hold a very distinct position of authority on the FIVB Beach Volleyball SWATCH World Tour. At 1.96m, Candelas is the tallest woman on the tour, while at 39 years of age Garcia is the most senior – and the most experienced.

Candelas, 27, is a three-time All-America indoor player at the University of Southern California (USC), where she twice picked up NCAA national collegiate titles. She was also a star of the Mexican national indoor team for many years. She left USC with a degree in communications, and went on to collect a master’s degree in marketing back home in Mexico.

“I switched from indoor to beach because, after college, I realised that if I was going to make it to the Olympics it would be on the beach,” said Candelas, the FIVB top rookie on the 2008 World Tour. “We play beach volleyball with one goal in mind: to represent Mexico at the London 2012 Olympic Games, and that is our total focus.”

Garcia, 19th all-time in career tournaments for women, is playing in her 12th season internationally. She played volleyball in high school and worked as an accountant for five years before compatriot Hilda Gaxiola asked her to play beach volleyball. She played with Gaxiola at the 2004 Olympic Games, and then with Candelas at the 2008 Olympics as well as earlier this year at the FIVB World Championships in Rome. And, like Candelas, Garcia has one major target.

“The last year has been up and down for us, but it is all part of the process as we aim for London 2012,” she said. “Recovery has been an issue, especially for me, and as a team it’s been hard for us to get out of the qualifying tournaments on the World Tour. I am glad we are doing well in NORCECA events, and we have made it to the final phase of the Continental Cup which is a major stepping stone on the road to the 2012 Olympics.”

The Candelas/Garcia pairing has won seven NORCECA gold medals in the last three years, including three in 2011, and in their four-year partnership on the FIVB SWATCH World Tour they have two fifth-place finishes, one seventh and seven ninths. “Mayra has taught me so much about playing on the beach,” said Candela, “and as we move towards our goal of London in 2012 the better we communicate on the court and the better the results have been. Playing on the FIVB SWATCH World Tour helps us in so many ways, but especially playing against the best teams in the world.”

In 2011 the pair finished fifth in the Quebec Open and fifth again in the Visa FIVB Beach Volleyball International Olympic test event at Horse Guards Parade in August, where they beat eventual winners Liliane Maestrini/Angela Vieira of Brazil in pool play. “It was inspiring for us to play at the Olympic venue in August, and to get a fifth-place finish including a pool-play win over the gold medalists was something I will cherish forever,” said Garcia, who won silver at the Pan American Games with Gaxiola in 2003 and bronze with Candelas four years later.

“We want to represent Mexico again at the Olympic Games, and for me to be able to do it three times would be beyond belief,” Garcia concluded. “I honestly can’t see me continuing to play professionally after London 2012, so that is where my life is at right now. It’s been an unbelievable time of nearly 12 years and I don’t want it to end before London.”

 

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We want to represent Mexico again at the Olympic Games, and for me to be able to do it three times would be beyond belief. (Mayra Garcia)
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Additional information

Honours

NORCECA Beach Volleyball Circuit
Seven gold medals


FIVB SWATCH World Tour
Fifth (twice)
Seventh
Ninth (seven)