Lausanne, Switzerland, January 17, 2020 – Volleyball superstar Gilberto ‘Giba’ Amauri Godoy Filho will be among the famous faces showing off their snow volleyball skills at the Snow Volleyball Festival in Bretaye in the region of Villars-sur-Ollon this weekend.
The Brazilian will be joined by London 2012 beach volleyball champion Julius Brink, Sydney 2000 gold and Atlanta 1996 volleyball bronze medallist Vladimir Grbic, Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004 volleyball silver medallist Elizaveta Bracht-Tishchenko and Austrian Snow Volleyball star Florian Schnetzer. Another familiar face to look out for is Cuban three-time Olympic gold volleyball medallist Mireya Luis.
The 42-year-old Giba, who won volleyball gold at Athens 2004, played on the 2019 FIVB Snow Volleyball World Tour and finished fifth at the tournaments in Wagrain-Kleinarl, Austria and Plan de Corones / Kronplatz, Italy.
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He also helped promote snow volleyball when it appeared as a demonstration sport at the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games co-hosted by FIVB and CEV in cooperation with the Austrian Olympic Committee, so he knows how popular it can become.
“I was there at the Olympics in PyeongChang when they first played snow volleyball and it was amazing to see all these people watching and thinking, ‘wow what is this new sport?’,” he said.
“People go to the mountains to ski or snowboard, but when they saw us playing, they all wanted to come and play with us, and that is incredible.”
In 2019 there were three Snow Volleyball World Tour tournaments, with Bariloche in Argentina the third host after Wagrain-Kleinarl and Plan de Corones / Kronplatz.
Teams from all five continents took part and with Giba competing it shows an appetite for snow volleyball from countries where summer is the dominant season.
Giba continues to play and recently featured for English team London Polonia VC when they made their CEV Champions League debut.
“Everybody is very curious about snow volleyball,” he said. “Not a lot of people know about snow volleyball and it continues to grow and grow. Especially the kids, so I say to the parents ‘go on let them come and play’.
“I tried snowboarding for the first time a year ago because there was a dangerous sports clause in my contracts. I said to the guys I boarded with ‘I’ve tried your sport, now you need to come and try mine’.”