Brazilians in dream land after claiming first ever YOG beach volleyball gold
Brazilian duo Eduarda Santos Lisboa and Ana Patricia Silva Ramos won the first beach volleyball gold medal awarded at a Youth Olympic Games, defeating Canadian twins Megan and Nicole Mcnamara in three sets (17-21, 21-13, 16-14) in the women’s final.
“Duda” and “Paty”, who had won all nine of their previous matches at these Games in straight sets, lost the first set of this match against the well-organised Mcnamaras.
But after a disappointing start, the Brazilians came back strongly in the second set with successful spikes from Silva Ramos and went on to take the third set by closing the tie-break with a spike by Santos Lisboa.
“It’s pure emotion,” Silva Ramos said afterwards, almost in tears. “It is the happiest moment in my life, I really could not imagine all of this. It’s the dream of any athlete – ‘dream’ is the only word that can describe what happened to us now.”
Santos Lisboa echoed her partner’s feelings: “We made it to the Youth Olympics, conquered the podium, there are no words to describe all of this.
“To come here is a dream, imagine [how it is] to win it, and we managed to do this, by making one step at a time and by staying together. I can’t explain what I feel now because it’s a very strong feeling I have in my chest,” the 16-year-old added.
Golden girls: the victorious Brazilian beach volleyball team
The Brazilians have trained together for only six months and acknowledge the importance of the bond they have developed.
“I think the key factor was union at the end of the match, because at the end we regrouped and managed to take the game,” Silva Ramos said.
“We knew the opponents were really good because they took the podium at the World Championships so we knew it would be a difficult game.
“We had a few problems in the first set, but we reacted well and managed to control the game,” she added.
Santos Lisboa agreed: “We were a bit separated in the first set but knew we wouldn’t win if we didn’t unite. So I spoke to her [Silva Ramos] and we came together as a team.”
The Canadian twins, who beat Germany’s Lisa Arnholdt and Sarah Schneider 2-0 in the semi-final, were pleased with their effort, despite missing out on gold.
“In the second set we got really tense and nervous but then in the timeout we regrouped," Nicole said. “In the third set we decided to just try and have fun and try our best.”
“I’m really proud of how we played. We knew we would have to play our very best to beat them and they played well too, so we are really happy with the result,” Megan added.
Arnholdt and Schneider beat Nadezda Makroguzova (RUS) and Daria Rudykh (RUS) in two sets (21-14, 27-25) to take the bronze medal.
The key to their victory, Arnholdt said, was that they played “with the heart, with the soul” and had “a lot of fun”.