Alison and Bruno Schmidt defeated Italy’s Daniele Lupo and Paolo Nicolai 21-19, 21-17 to win Brazil’s first beach volleyball gold medal since the 2004 Athens Games.
The Italian men took an early lead in the first set while the Brazilians struggled to find their rhythm but Alison and Bruno Schmidt rallied back to take the lead at 11-10 as they entered the first technical timeout. Alison/Bruno Schmidt powered ahead but the Italian men trailed close behind, consistently blocking Alison’s attacks at the net. A long attack from Paolo Nicolai gave the Brazilian men a point to lead 20-19. Alison followed up with a block at the net to take the first set 21-19.
The Italian men lead in the second set but the Brazilians responded to close the gap at 11-11. Alison and Bruno Schmidt took the lead for the first time in the set at 15-14 after the Italians were unable to dig an attack from Bruno Schmidt. Alison followed up with a block at the net to give the pair a two-point lead. Alison and Bruno Schmidt continued their run to claim the second set, winning the match 21-19, 21-17.
The win marked Alison’s second Olympic medal and Bruno Schmidt’s first.
Alison made his Olympic debut at the London Games and was favored to win alongside then-partner, one of the most decorated male beach volleyball of all time, Emanuel Rego. However the Brazilian men lost in the gold medal match to Germany’s Julius Brink and Jonas Reckermann.
Alison and Bruno Schmidt began playing as teenagers in Vitoria, Brazil but the duo split when Alison was recruited to play in Rio de Janeiro. In 2013, both men were looking for new partners and decided to reunite.
While the sport was created in the U.S., Brazil is often considered the “spiritual home” of volleyball. The host nation is most decorated in terms of Olympic medals and has won at least one medal at every Games since the sport was added in 1996.
Alison and Bruno Schmidt’s victory marks Brazil’s 13th beach volleyball medal and third gold. Agatha and Barbara took silver in the women’s Rio Olympic beach volleyball tournament.