The Story of Beach Volleyball Legend Jackie Silva | Legends Live On


Sometimes in life I’m an
attacker but, I confess, I’d rather not be an attacker
all the time. (LEGENDS LIVE ON JACKIE SILVA) The Copacabana Beach
was my playground. I used to play with my friends. We pretended to play
like the grown-ups. There weren’t any pretensions
of becoming a professional. I never thought that one day
I’d be an Olympic medallist. (OLYMPIC GAMES MOSCOW 1980) Moscow 1980 were
my first Olympics. I think I was 18 years old. And it was real eye-opener
because that was the time
of the Iron Curtain. Things were rather different. We weren’t allowed
to take any photos, that’s why
I don’t have any pictures. We couldn’t do anything, just what we were told to do –
wave and smile. It was the opposite to what it
is today, everyone holds a camera,
takes selfies. Our team was very young. We didn’t have great
expectations to win a medal or achieve anything at all. So for us it was all about
being at the Olympics to take part in it,
get the feeling. There were eight countries
and we finished in seventh. (OLYMPIC GAMES LOS ANGELES
1984) In these Games, Brazil could contemplate
having a better campaign. China would play this Olympics
to win a gold medal and the US would also play
to win a gold medal. Brazil was the one that would
try to spoil someone’s plan. But we lost the match that we
couldn’t lose, against the US. When we got back to Brazil,
the transition from an amateur to
a professional league was getting stronger
and I was having problems with the Brazilian Volleyball
Confederation. When the sport began to change,
money was flowing, sponsorships were happening but the athletes
didn’t get their share. And when they finally did,
just the men got it. Our jerseys had the name
of the sponsors on it. It was the same sponsors
for the women and men’s teams and they said the women
wouldn’t get paid. I decided to wear my jersey
inside out. So we had a meeting in which they told me
I was being dropped. She fought for our rights,
for equality. She showed that female
volleyball could go further than the Confederation
or leaders thought. She fought a lot for our sport. After I was dropped, I stayed put for a while,
I didn’t do anything. Because I couldn’t do
anything in Brazil, people wouldn’t hire me, so I thought maybe
this is a good time to leave and try something in the US. When she came to
the United States I’d heard her back story about
being on the outs or ostracised by the Brazilian Federation and so she came to
the United States to pursue her
volleyball career. Beach volleyball
in southern California was a burgeoning
professional sport, it was garnering
a lot of attention. Jackie came here to become a professional beach
volleyball player. She felt that this was where
the sport was going to grow and actually
she’s one of the people that made the sport grow. Once beach volleyball began
the process of becoming an Olympic sport,
I didn’t want it. For me it was as if Brazil, as if I had closed
all the doors. I said, “This is a
once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, “you have to go back, it’s
important, not just for you “but for beach volleyball
and for your country.” So, Jackie came into my life
in 1994 when she was already
an experienced player, famous, already queen
of the beach in the USA. Sandra, she was a very young
player, very energetic. She was inexperienced but
had great physical potential. She rang me and said, “Do you
want to play some ball?” I said, “Of course!” (OLYMPIC GAMES ATLANTA 1996) I don’t remember
a thing of Atlanta, I didn’t see Atlanta at all. Because I just wanted to
compete and achieve the goal
I had set for myself. Match after match,
we were improving and this was incredible,
we had absolute control. This would be the first women’s
Olympic medal for Brazil. And the game itself,
the final, was a tough one. Our opponents,
Monica and Adriana, changed their game strategy. Because Sandra was
a very strong player and she was
an excellent attacker while I was a very good setter. The opponents avoided making
this kind of move. They served against me, putting
Sandra in the setter position, changing all our functions. The first set
was a very tight one. But we won it and, once the first set
was over, they were broken and gave up so we won the second set
easily. I would have never imagined that the last point in the
match would have been that way when the referee
blows the whistle because she makes a fault. I almost asked to serve again. I didn’t want it to finish
that way. You believe that it should have
more glamour, right? But no. Look, it’s like a jewel to me. I worked hard to get it but I work even harder
to keep it shining. Brazil has a really big problem
with education. When I retired, I created a project
called Intelligent Athletes. So the idea is that,
through sport, we can shape these young people and prepare them for work. By working with them daily we try to increase
the confidence of those children
and young kids. So when they get a job, they know how to present
themselves, how to act. And it was from this project
that Evandro came. Today, I am number two
in the world. I think the results
that I’ve been achieving speak for themselves. I owe it all to my past
at Smart Athletes. Talita was another player
I trained that was at the Olympics too. Jackie, to me,
is an inspiration. When I look back at my career
and all I have achieved, Jackie was there
from the beginning. I have great affection
for all those that helped me. Discipline is something
that makes you free, despite what people think. They think that disciplined
people are restrained. It’s the opposite, when you have discipline
you have more control. Once you have more control,
you’re more confident, and then you do
whatever you want.

22 thoughts on “The Story of Beach Volleyball Legend Jackie Silva | Legends Live On

  1. Jackie Silva, la recuerdo mucho, fue una fabulosa armadora que brillo en el partido o juego entre Brazil y EE.UU en las olimpiadas de los Angeles 1984, merecida medalla de oro en el voley playa en Atlanta 1996

  2. Jackie você é um monstro!!! Lindo exemplo de generosinade, inteligência e dedicação ao país que vc fez seu nome com o teu esforço muitas vezes sem tanto apoio como tantos atletas nesse país que evoluíram "na unha"!

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