Brazil clinch volleyball gold on final day of Rio Olympics

Rio de Janeiro, Aug.
22, (GNA/dpa) – Brazil added one more gold medal to their trove Sunday on the
last day of the Rio Olympics, beating Italy 3-0 to claim the title in men’s
volleyball.

The match in the
Maracanazinho arena was hard-fought, with the two teams neck and neck most of
the time. But Brazil, fired on by football star Neymar and other fans among the
spectators, took the first three sets 25-22, 28-26 and 26-24.

“This Brazil
team’s main quality is resilience,” Brazil’s Bruno Rezende said.
“That is what carried us to gold.”

“This gold
should help us promote volleyball in schools. That legacy is the main point of
this winning.”

Brazil have now made
it to the gold match six times, surpassing the Soviet Union record for the most
Olympic finals in men’s volleyball. Brazil last held the title in 2004 and took
silver in 2008 and 2012.

“We deserved
this medal so much,” Rezende added. “It’s much more special to do it
at home, it’s a magical moment. Everything we went through and now we are
Olympic champions.

“This
generation was said to be chokers. After so many silvers, now we’re gold.”

Italy won silver in
2004 and bronze in 2012, but have never managed to get gold.

But both Brazil and
Italy have now equalled the Soviet record of winning a total of six Olympic
medals in the men’s tournament.

Beaten Italy coach
Gianlorenzo Blengini paid tribute to the fans who contributed to an atmospheric
final.

“The
Maracanazinho atmosphere is electrifying,” he said. “It gives
everyone an adrenaline shot.

The bronze medal in
Rio de Janeiro was snatched by the United States on Sunday, following a
close-fought showdown with Russia.

The Russians looked
set to make quick work of their rivals at the beginning of the match, winning
the first two sets 25-23, 25-21. But the Americans then fought back in the
third and fourth set with scores of 25-19 in each set.

“I thought we
were out, honestly. We were down 0-2, a lot of our guys weren’t really looking
that fired up to play,” US player David Lee told journalists after the
match. “But a few good plays here and there and that’s all we
needed.”

The two teams were
neck and neck for much of the decisive fifth set, but the US managed to break
away for a 15-13 win in the last frame.

“It wasn’t the
storybook ending like we all planned for and wanted, but this is a great honour
to be coming home with an Olympic medal,” US player Micah Christenson
said. “We’re going to wear it proudly.”

The Americans
returned to the podium for the first time since winning gold eight years ago.
Their Russian rivals leave Rio empty-handed, after having won gold at the
London Olympics four years ago.

“Maybe during
the game I could have played better and the team could have played better, but
let’s be objective, some win and some lose,” Russia’s Alexey Verbov said.
“Emotionally we gave everything.”

GNA

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