Men's Olympic Games 2004
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29 August
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Brazil claim gold in magical performance
Athens, Greece, August 29, 2004 – World champions Brazil added another trophy to their burgeoning collection after winning the gold medal in the 2004 Olympic Games men’s Volleyball competition with a stunning 3-1 (25-15, 24-26, 25-20, 25-22) victory over Italy at the Peace and Friendship Stadium on Sunday.
It was a spectacular performance from the world number one team with Giba, who was voted the Most Valuable Player, Heller, Gustavo, Dante, Sergio and Ricardo all in exquisite form, posing plenty of problems for a brave Italian side, who despite claiming one set, couldn’t repeat their “perfect” semifinal performance against Russia.
"We have two gold medals now, one for the World Championship and one for the Olympic Games. That is all that matters,” Giba said. “We are winners. We were here for the first place, every player had this and only this in his mind. I am so happy."
The gold medal triumph completes a cycle where Brazil have won every trophy available on the international circuit, including the 2002 World Championship, the 2003 & 2004 World League and the 2003 World Cup titles.
“I want to congratulate my team because it was tough to win, we had the weight of a nation on our shoulders,” Brazilian coach Bernardo Rezende said. “It wasn’t easy leaving Brazil knowing that we were expected to win. That is a major strength of this team, holding together despite the pressure and being a team rather than a bunch of individuals. We deserved it because we held our poise and that will be the legacy of this team.”
The only country to compete in all 11 Olympic Volleyball competitions, Brazil now has two golds and a silver after beating the Netherlands in the final in 1992 in Barcelona. Sunday's silver medal was Italy's fourth Olympic medal in addition to two bronze medals and a second-place finish in the 1996 Atlanta Games.
Earlier in the day Russia proved too powerful for USA as they claimed the bronze medal with a convincing 3-0 (25-22, 27-25, 25-16) victory.
“We are very happy, it was a great match,” Russian captain Vadim Khamuttskikh said. “It was something like a compensation for our earlier defeats. The medal is satisfactory but in the next Olympic Games we will try for better results. I hope that back home, people are satisfied with our medal.”
Brazil and Italy into Olympic final
ATHENS, 28 August – World champions Brazil and European champions Italy will fight it out for the Men's Volleyball gold medal on Sunday at the Peace and Friendship Stadium in a repeat of the World League final, which Brazil won 3-1 (27-25 25-19 25-27 25-17).
Brazil and Italy go head-to-head at 14:30. Their match up in the preliminary round gave an insight into what one can expect in the final with Brazil claiming a breathtaking tiebreaker that finished at 33-31.
Brazil have won eight of the last 10 official match ups against Italy over the past four years.
Italy was third at Sydney 2000, while Brazil’s last appearance on the Olympic podium was back at Barcelona 1992, when it won the gold medal.
Brazil leads the head-to-head statistics in four different categories; the scoring spikers, non-scoring diggers, non-scoring setters and non-scoring receivers. Meanwhile Italy tops the scoring servers of the tournament with 50 service aces so far.
Top wing spiker Gilberto GODOY FILHO, Dante Guimaraes AMARAL and efficient universal Andre NASCIMENTO are the stars of Brazil, while serve-master Andrea SARTORETTI, the agile Samuele PAPI and five time Olympian Andrea GIANI have been the go-to-guys for Italy so far.
Russia and the United States will battle for the last place on the podium in the bronze medal match at 12:30. In the preliminaries Russia beat the United States in four sets.
Russia came second in Sydney, while USA’s last Olympic medal was at Seoul 1988, when they won their second consecutive gold medal.
ONS sk/eg