Athlete interview:

Sandra Pires, Brazil

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Beach volleyball teaches collaboration, persistence

Beach volleyball teaches collaboration, persistence


Three-time Olympian in beach volleyball turned sports commentator
With a partner, beach volleyball champion Sandra Pires won the gold at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games, a bronze at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games and fifth place at the 2004 Athens Olympic Games. She also won 20 FIVB (Fédération Internationale de Volleyball) titles and was named “Best Player of the Decade" by the FIVB for 1990-2000. A native of Rio de Janeiro, she was added to the International Volleyball Hall of Fame in 2014. She has a Bachelor's degree in physical education from the Universidade Estácio de Sá in Rio de Janeiro. Currently, she works as a volleyball sports broadcaster and also travels Brazil delivering motivational speeches and seminars on the power of sport.


Three-time Olympian in beach volleyball turned sports commentator
With a partner, beach volleyball champion Sandra Pires won the gold at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games, a bronze at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games and fifth place at the 2004 Athens Olympic Games. She also won 20 FIVB (Fédération Internationale de Volleyball) titles and was named “Best Player of the Decade" by the FIVB for 1990-2000. A native of Rio de Janeiro, she was added to the International Volleyball Hall of Fame in 2014. She has a Bachelor's degree in physical education from the Universidade Estácio de Sá in Rio de Janeiro. Currently, she works as a volleyball sports broadcaster and also travels Brazil delivering motivational speeches and seminars on the power of sport.

Q

How did you first get involved in beach volleyball?

How did you first get involved in beach volleyball?

 

I played indoor for the RioForte team. At the time the assistant coach Jacques invited me to team up with someone who he was working with on the beach named Karina, and she became my first beach volleyball partner.

I played indoor for the RioForte team. At the time the assistant coach Jacques invited me to team up with someone who he was working with on the beach named Karina, and she became my first beach volleyball partner.

Q

Did you have any mentors throughout your sporting career? How did they impact your life?

Did you have any mentors throughout your sporting career? How did they impact your life?

 

My coaches and partners were my mentors. They helped me learn faster and gain experience.

My coaches and partners were my mentors. They helped me learn faster and gain experience.


EY - Portrait of Sandra Pires
 
"Forget about the past and just keep doing your best. Keep on going." – Sandra Pires, Olympic medalist in beach volleyball
 


EY - Portrait of Sandra Pires
 
"Forget about the past and just keep doing your best. Keep on going." – Sandra Pires, Olympic medalist in beach volleyball
 

Q

How did it feel winning the gold medal at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games?

How did it feel winning the gold medal at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games?

 

I was extremely happy because we worked very hard. It was also not just another medal — it was Olympic Gold and Brazil’s first female medal of all time. It was very important to my partner Jackie, to me and to my country.

I was extremely happy because we worked very hard. It was also not just another medal — it was Olympic Gold and Brazil’s first female medal of all time. It was very important to my partner Jackie, to me and to my country.

Q

What is it like being a teammate in a two-person sport?

What is it like being a teammate in a two-person sport?

 

It’s very complicated. If you disagree with your partner, you don’t have any other teammates to talk to so you have to work things out the best you can. With Jackie and I, there was a big age difference; I am 11 years younger and that meant we had very different experiences and outlooks on life. But what kept us going was our common goal — the Olympic dream.

I learned that in order to grow as teammates you need to be respectful and humble, and realize that when you win and lose you are not alone.

It’s very complicated. If you disagree with your partner, you don’t have any other teammates to talk to so you have to work things out the best you can. With Jackie and I, there was a big age difference; I am 11 years younger and that meant we had very different experiences and outlooks on life. But what kept us going was our common goal — the Olympic dream.

I learned that in order to grow as teammates you need to be respectful and humble, and realize that when you win and lose you are not alone.

Q

You had different partners over the span of your career. What was it like switching teammates?

You had different partners over the span of your career. What was it like switching teammates?

 

It was always hard to switch teammates, but I realized that change can be a good thing and sometimes it’s necessary. In my opinion, you have to explore the collaboration as much as you can before deciding to change. Everything I learned from this experience is applicable to the professional world.

It was always hard to switch teammates, but I realized that change can be a good thing and sometimes it’s necessary. In my opinion, you have to explore the collaboration as much as you can before deciding to change. Everything I learned from this experience is applicable to the professional world.

Q

You and your teammate Ana Paula Connelly were never healthy at the same time in 2004, including at the Olympic Games in Athens. How did you overcome that disappointment?

You and your teammate Ana Paula Connelly were never healthy at the same time in 2004, including at the Olympic Games in Athens. How did you overcome that disappointment?

 

In truth, I’ll never get over the fact that I didn’t win my third Olympic medal. But I believe that you achieve what you deserve and that belief is what comforted me and kept me going. My advice is forget about the past and just keep doing your best. Keep on going.

In truth, I’ll never get over the fact that I didn’t win my third Olympic medal. But I believe that you achieve what you deserve and that belief is what comforted me and kept me going. My advice is forget about the past and just keep doing your best. Keep on going.

Q

How has your experience as an athlete influenced your professional life outside of sports?

How has your experience as an athlete influenced your professional life outside of sports?

 

Being an athlete was the best thing that happened in my life. It influenced everything! The way that I eat and how I think. It gave me discipline, focus, persistence and the desire to do everything with perfection.

I learned to deal with a lot a pressure because of the results needed, and that’s a very useful tool in life outside of sports.

Being an athlete was the best thing that happened in my life. It influenced everything! The way that I eat and how I think. It gave me discipline, focus, persistence and the desire to do everything with perfection.

I learned to deal with a lot a pressure because of the results needed, and that’s a very useful tool in life outside of sports.

Q

Why do you think it’s important to for women athletes to support each other like they do in the Women Athletes Business Network?

Why do you think it’s important to for women athletes to support each other like they do in the Women Athletes Business Network?

 

The Women Athletes Business Network is incredibly valuable. Athletic careers are very short and female athletes need to think about their future. Therefore networking while they’re still competing is extremely necessary.

Actively participating in the planning of your career is also very important. The Women Athletes Business Network gives us the opportunity to share our experiences with each other and contribute to forming a source of information for future generations.

The Women Athletes Business Network is incredibly valuable. Athletic careers are very short and female athletes need to think about their future. Therefore networking while they’re still competing is extremely necessary.

Actively participating in the planning of your career is also very important. The Women Athletes Business Network gives us the opportunity to share our experiences with each other and contribute to forming a source of information for future generations.

Q

What advice do you have for young athletes today in order to be prepared for life after sport?

What advice do you have for young athletes today in order to be prepared for life after sport?

 

Get the best support and instruction you can. Choose a good coach, a good place to practice and believe in yourself. Never falter. Remember that you’ll have some setbacks along the way, but don’t let them stop you. Be patient, things take time.

Get the best support and instruction you can. Choose a good coach, a good place to practice and believe in yourself. Never falter. Remember that you’ll have some setbacks along the way, but don’t let them stop you. Be patient, things take time.


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The views of third parties set out in this publication are not necessarily the views of the global EY organization or its member firms. Moreover, they should be seen in the context of the time they were made.

Os pontos de vista de terceiros apresentados nesta publicação não representam necessariamente os pontos de vista da organização EY global ou de suas firmas-membro. Além disso, devem ser considerados no contexto da época em que foram apresentados.

Sandra Pires, Brazil

Sandra Pires, Brazil

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