Rio de Janeiro, August 6, 2016 – FIVB President Dr. Ary S. Graça F° praised the magnificent Opening Ceremony of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games – which took place at the Maracanã Stadium – and has vowed to continue bringing a taste of the Brazilian carnival spirit to the Olympic Games when the beach volleyball and volleyball competitions begin on Saturday.
The reconstructed Maracanã Stadium became the host of the world’s greatest samba party as more than 10,500 athletes from 207 National Olympic Committees joined in to officially signal the start of the first ever Olympic Games to take place in South America.
Russian star Sergey Tetyukhin, who is hoping to win an unprecedented fifth Olympic medal, was the sole volleyball or beach volleyball athlete to be a flagbearer for his country.
The 40-year-old captain of the defending Olympic champions is guaranteed to become a six-time Olympian on Sunday when Russia take to the court at the Maracanazinho against Cuba for their first Rio 2016 match. This will match the record held by another Russian – Yevgeniya Artamonova.
Meanwhile, beach volleyball legends Emanuel Rego (gold at the Athens Olympics, Silver at London 2012 and bronze in Beijing) and Sandra Pires (gold at Atlanta 1996 and bronze at Sydney 200) took part in the ceremony by being two of six Olympic flag carriers.
Volleyball is set to the signature sport of the Games and the FIVB is committed to setting the standard for fan engagement at an Olympic Games through its new innovations and narrative of the game, creating a connection that goes beyond the event.
The FIVB President Dr. Ary S. Graça F° said: “I would like to first express my deepest admiration for Carlos Arthur Nuzman and the rest of the Rio 2016 Organising Committee for staging the most magnificent Opening Ceremony. As a Brazilian, it was a privilege to experience such a wonderful moment in my country’s history and it was the perfect way to get the Olympic party started! I am incredibly honoured and humbled to be President of the FIVB at a home Olympic Games and I am very excited for the volleyball and beach volleyball competitions to begin. In Brazil, we say football is a religion but volleyball is the number one sport and these Games provide an opportunity for us to harness the Brazilian passion and enthusiasm for volleyball to inspire the rest of the world.”