Plan de Corones / Kronplatz, Italy, April 10, 2019 – Gilberto Amauri Godoy Filho, known simply as Giba, was a member of the Brazilian team, which finished fifth at each of the first two events on the inaugural 2019 FIVB Snow Volleyball Word Tour, co-organized with the CEV. The legendary 42-year-old indoor volleyballer gave fivb.com an interview before the start of the tournament in Wagrain-Kleinarl. After he was done playing in Plan de Corones / Kronplatz, Giba spoke to fivb.com again to share his fresh impressions of this spectacular new winter sport.
Giba in action
You came back after your retirement as a player and took part in the first two stops on the FIVB Snow Volleyball World Tour. Looking back at the experience now, what was it like for you?
Giba: It’s really incredible to come back and compete again! The last game that I had played was in April 2014. The adrenalin is amazing! What is as important for me is being part of the organization. When you are just a player, you just play. But when you see the way everything is done as part of the FIVB, you understand how much hard work there is behind an event like this. I am quite happy to both come back to play and be part of the organization.
How did snow volleyball feel to you as an athlete?
Giba: We discussed this in our snow volleyball team, naturally comparing this to indoor volleyball and to beach volleyball. Snow volleyball is completely different. It’s another sport. For the two young guys on my team, this was the first time they saw snow. We all needed to train, to understand the game better and to adjust to it. We showed our potential and we should get better and better in time.
On your team you had yourself, a legendary volleyball player, Marcio Araujo, a legendary beach volleyball player, and two young talented and athletic guys. In theory, the best you can get?
Giba: Ha-ha, in theory, yes. But sport is about training and practice in order to understand how a game is working. Michal Matyja, the Polish guy with the King of the Snow trophy tattooed on his forearm, who finished third in Kronplatz, has played snow volleyball for seven years, so he is way more experienced than us. I would certainly have some problems, if I played beach volleyball too, but if I play indoor volleyball, I am in my house. If you put Marcio in indoor volleyball, he would not feel so comfortable. It’s all volleyball, but indoor is one sport, beach is another, and snow is yet another sport – they are all very different from each other.
Still, you finished fifth at both events, which is quite good for a country which has never won a medal at the Winter Olympics. And how about the fifth place for Cameroon or the two bronze medals for the girls from Argentina?
Giba: It’s true! Obviously snow volleyball provides a good opportunity for Brazil and the other southern countries with warm climates not only to do well, but also to win medals in a winter sport. And this is great! So here I would like to congratulate Peter Kleinmann and Martin Kaswurm for their passion to develop snow volleyball.
Giba among athletes from all five continents playing snow volleyball on the FIVB World Tour
Are you going to play at the third World Tour stop in Argentina as well?
Giba: For sure! These two tournaments were really important for us to gain experience before the next one in Bariloche. We now have a lot of new ideas about how we need to play, how we need to move on the snow...
Why do you think so many players, aged 40 and above, decided to play at these two snow volleyball events?
Giba: I think it is because we are interested in understanding this new sport and trying it. It was the same with beach volleyball in the 1990s. Why? Because we love volleyball! This is our passion, this is our heart! Snow volleyball is an amazing new sport and we want to help promote it.
How did you combine your participation in these snow volleyball tournaments with your role as President of the FIVB Athletes’ Commission?
Giba: I tried to understand the players’ side of things - what can be improved in relation to their health and safety, what is their attitude towards snow volleyball, is the ball good for them or not... Then I report to the FIVB on behalf of the athletes. It is very good that now the athletes’ voice is heard, because they are the ones making the show. The FIVB and the athletes – we are all one family and need to work together.
Selfie with Russia’s Olga Motrich, two-time snow volleyball gold medallist
What is your big takeaway from these two tournaments?
Giba: Experiencing a new sport. I told my teammates – this is not beach volleyball for you and not indoor volleyball for me. This is another sport, played at a high altitude, so we even need to learn how to breathe correctly here. Each set is only played to 15 points – either you go very hard from the very first point or you lose.
Marcio Araujo and Giba give their best to save a ball on the snow