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Athlete Role Model Gil de Paes Pires: "The greatest honour of my life"

Photo: Agustin Markarián / Buenos Aires 2018
Brazilian Gil de Paes Pires, one of the most prominent players in beach handball, was chosen by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) as an Athlete Role Model for Buenos Aires 2018. The multi-champion player said that passing his knowledge and experience to the younger athletes is the most valuable prize he ever got in his career.

"It's very special to me. Just watching beach handball at an Olympic Games gives me goosebumps. It’s a dream for all of us who play this sport. Helping these young athletes, who are the future, is something incredible," Pires said. The 36-year-old athlete born in Recife, Brazil, is one of those chosen by the IOC to interact with young athletes that are competing at Buenos Aires 2018. His mission: to promote the Olympic values.

Helping these young athletes, who are the future, is something incredible. Gil de Paes Pires Brazil

"This is the greatest honour I have received in my life as an athlete. The life of an athlete is a hard life, it demands that you put in a lot of time to do it in the best way possible. It’s very moving to think that these kids see me as a reflection of what they aspire to be," said the Brazilian, a true handball legend who has dazzled sports fans in both indoor and beach versions of the discipline.

Pires, who plays either in the pivot or left wing positions, has a remarkable track record with Brazil’s national team. He won three beach handball world championships (Rio de Janeiro 2006, Antalya 2010 and Recife 2014) and three World Games (China Taipei 2009, Colombia 2013 and Poland 2017) and was twice included in the International Handball Federation’s beach handball world championship all-star team: in 2008 as best left wing and in 2014 as the best pivot. And now he is ready to share his experience with the junior competitors at Buenos Aires 2018.

CYM Fotografia/Buenos Aires 2018

"More than teaching them, I try to learn from the kids. They have a lot to teach the older players. I try to pass on to them the experiences I had representing Brazil in the world championships and the World Games," said Pires.

Youth Olympic Games Buenos Aires 2018

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