Sérgio Santos is back at the top of the medal podium…
The 40-year-old Brazilian volleyball player, the only Olympian ever to reach four finals in a row in Men’s Volleyball, helped lead his team past Italy to reclaim the gold medal at the 2016 Rio Games.
Brazil beat a strong Italian team in straight sets, 25-22, 28-26, 26-24, on Sunday for the home team’s first Olympic title in 12 years since a championship at the 2004 Athens Games.
As the delirious home crowd hung out to watch the medal ceremony, fans danced in the stands and chanted “Campeao! Campeao!”
“It’s really special, especially winning in our own home it leaves a really good taste,” Brazil’s William Arjona said. “It’s a whole life of work and this is our result. We are very happy for this.”
At the very end, Santos grabbed the microphone and expressed his gratitude to thousands inside and millions elsewhere, thanking the adoring crowd and telling all the fans how much he cherishes wearing Brazil’s yellow shirt on his chest.
Then, he and the champion Brazilians took a victory lap and celebrated some more. They capped the final day of the 2016 Summer Olympics with a memorable, emphatic volleyball victory.
Brazil’s men avenged a loss to Russia in the 2012 London Games gold-medal match with a straight-set victory Friday night, then carried that momentum — and rode the energy of their huge crowd — to the top spot of the Olympic podium.
The Brazilians reached their fourth straight Olympic title match and finally came out champions once more. Even sweeter to reach the gold-medal match by knocking down the Russia team that beat them for gold in London.
The Brazilians then grabbed Santos and tossed him in the air, time and time again. The fitting gesture for a national team treasure and beloved libero in what likely was his last Olympics.