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Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, August 23, 2016 - FIVB President Dr. Ary S. Graça F° looks back at successes for volleyball and beach volleyball at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

As we look back on the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in the months and years ahead, we will reflect on these fantastic Games knowing this was the time when volleyball confirmed its position as the ultimate family sport entertainment.

The Beach Volleyball Arena and Maracanãzinho have been the places to be seen and the sport has been the talk of the town in Rio and around the world as it returned to its spiritual home.

Nearly forty years have passed since the FIVB organized the first Beach Volleyball World Championships here in Rio de Janeiro. Twenty years have passed since beach volleyball joined the Olympic Programme. All this time, we dreamed that one day we might see Olympic competitions here in Rio. Now, the dream has come true.

The last two nights of competition at Copacabana were among the most extraordinary moments of my life. First alongside the IOC members, I had the pleasure of rewarding athletes - including my own countrymen and women - as they stood on top of the Olympic podium in my country. But, every single athlete who took to the sands of the iconic Copacabana has contributed to the event’s unprecedented success.

For 13 days, Copacabana was the beating heart of Rio 2016. The FIVB created a party at the beach and also at Maracanãzinho, inviting and uniting fans of all ages and nationalities to enjoy the remarkable spectacle that is our sport. But the party has had a serious purpose. Spectacle, music and dancing are part of our Brazilian culture for sure. But we mix these things with sport not just to entertain. We do it to make sure we do not have just spectators. We want fans who are engaged with our sport, who learn something about volleyball, who go home knowing that they want more volleyball in their lives and who have new heroes that are volleyball players.

I knew we succeeded in this even before the matches finished because the competitions were not all that we had in Copacabana. We had six volleyball courts on Copacabana Beach in front of our Volleyball House as well as courts in Deodoro Olympic Park and in the Athletes’ Village Plaza Court. Our CopaCourts have been a huge success, where great athletes from our sport have come and shared their knowledge and passion with people of all ages. And away from the beach we are proud of the Viva Vôlei Volleyball Your Way development training centres that the FIVB has opened and will be partly funding up until Tokyo 2020 as part of our Rio social sport legacy programme.

Because our sport goes from one end of the Games all the way to the other, it is not often possible to enjoy in person the special moments from other sports. Mostly, we see these in the same way most of the world sees them, on a TV screen as we pass by or as we stop to watch something amazing, like Phelps, like Bolt. Sometimes, we have the privilege of seeing another sport in person because we were not alone in Copacabana. We saw cycling and triathlon zooming by, set against the beautiful backdrop of Rio. When all of our sports come together, it truly creates something magical, a real celebration of humanity.

The Olympic Spirit has been alive and well and strong here in Rio. Like every federation, like every NOC and our friends at the IOC, we have had to work together to find solutions for challenges we might not have expected. In each case we have succeeded. I must thank our friends at the Rio 2016 Organising Committee most sincerely for all that they have done. They have worked tirelessly and passionately for the good of all sport and for the good of the Olympic Games. We are all better because of their efforts.

Every Olympic Games is special in its own way. Rio 2016 has been particularly special for us at FIVB. Our sport returned to its spiritual home and we leave with the honour of knowing that we have inspired generations of fans in all corners of the world. Volleyball has become stronger and we already look forward to taking it to new heights.

Dr. Ary S. Graça F°

Quick links - Volleyball:
Rio 2016 Olympic Games - Volleyball
Rio 2016 Olympic Games - Volleyball Results/Schedule
Rio 2016 Olympic Games - Volleyball - Teams - Men
Rio 2016 Olympic Games - Volleyball - Teams - Women
Rio 2016 Olympic Games - Volleyball - Media Guide
Rio 2016 Olympic Games - Volleyball History

Quick links - Beach volleyball:Rio 2016 Olympic Games - Beach Volleyball
Rio 2016 Olympic Games - Beach Volleyball Results/schedule
Rio 2016 Olympic Games - Beach Volleyball - Teams - Men
Rio 2016 Olympic Games - Beach Volleyball - Teams - Women
Rio 2016 Olympic Games - Beach Volleyball - Media Guide
Rio 2016 Olympic Games - Beach Volleyball history