London 2012

Press release

Cunha aiming to help Ricardo continue run of medals in London

Pedro Cunha is hoping to be the third player Ricardo Santos has won an Olympic medal with

London, Great Britain, July 28, 2012 – Pedro Cunha is hopeful that he can help continue Ricardo Santos’ remarkable run of medal success at the Olympic Games, following an opening win at London 2012.

In 2000 Ricardo left Sydney with a silver medal after he and Ze Marco lost to Eric Fonoimoana and Dain Blanton in the gold medal match. Four years later he teamed up with Emanuel Rego to win gold at Athens 2004 and then four years further on they won bronze at Beijing 2008.

Since pairing up at the end of 2011 Cunha and Ricardo have enjoyed wins at four FIVB SWATCH World Tour events and the aim now is to add another from Horse Guard’s Parade.

“I don’t want to be the first partner not to win him a medal,” Cunha said. “He just told me to do my best and have confidence in myself. When I looked in his eyes I saw the confidence that he had and the desire to win another gold medal.

“I was able to help Ricardo during difficult times in the match and now I think we can go on with confidence. We can put pressure on our opponents with our attack because this gives us huge confidence.”

Norway’s Tarjei Skarlund and Martin Spinnangr were the Brazilian pair’s first opponents in London and while they pushed the seventh seeds hard in both sets, ultimately Cunha and Ricardo finished with a 21-14, 21-18 victory.

It was the first competitive match the pair had played together since they reached the quarter-finals of the A1 Grand Slam presented by Ergo in Klagenfurt where they were eliminated by USA’s Sean Rosenthal and Jacob Gibb.

As the match was Cunha’s Olympic debut he had some pre-match nerves, but soon overcame them to record an impressive win.

“I was very excited at the beginning as it has always been an aim of mine (to play at an Olympics),” Cunha said. “I wanted to know how I would react in my first match and now it feels great because I feel I played my best volleyball.

“It was important to have a difficult one at the beginning to get used to it and the courts and the pressure and everything. I think when we were under pressure we reacted very well. It made me very, very happy because I was a bit nervous with how we would react.”

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