March 22, 2023 | at the FISU Winter University Games
In a few months, at the Chengdu 2021 FISU World University Games (July 28 – August 8), Brazilian student-athletes will feel at ease in many disciplines, and in some they will be among the top favorites. After all, it’s the Summer Olympics and that’s when you expect Brazil to shine.
But a few months ago, the Brazilian university sports federation (CBDU) also sent a small delegation to the 2023 FISU World University Games in Lake Placid. It included a curling team, and it was Brazil’s first start in the sport at the FISU Games.
Due to the fact that winter sports are not common in the country, Brazil has yet to win any medals in the winter edition of the biennial event. It was a huge step forward for their winter sports community.
By the time they entered the match against Sweden mid-tournament, they had already lost five times and despite their best efforts, they lost again to their Nordic opponents. For the rest of the competition, little changed and, improving, they eventually finished last. However, that didn’t stop Brazil from having a good time.
“Considering all our matches, we played well. It means more than we expected, to be honest. We expected not to be as competitive, so we’re very pleased… and that’s quite significant for us,” said fourth Vitor de Melo.
Although curling is still rare in Brazil, Melo is just happy that Brazilians in his home country recognize his sport, as he started when he competed in the 2020 Winter Youth Olympics.
“It’s getting more and more popular. During the Olympics, he really stood out from the Brazilians. At least they know the sport and that’s good,” he said.
In Canada, curling is very popular, from children to the elderly. It is a sport that many Canadians enjoy playing all their lives, and all four members of the Brazil team train in British Columbia.
“In Canada, we are very privileged to have good practice facilities. The fact that we all live in Vancouver, where we have a large Brazilian community, definitely helps our chemistry.”
Canada beat Brazil 10-2 at Lake Placid, but the Canadians saw the importance of enjoying the experience.
“Looks like they’re having a great time,” Canada’s Owen Purcell said after the match. “And I think that’s ultimately the most important thing when you go to an event like this because sometimes it’s very easy to get caught up in the competitive spirit and you just want to win all your games and call but there must be times when you can just look around and think “wow, this is really amazing”.
Incredible! Indeed, the word was on the lips of every Brazilian curler. As their coach Marcio Rodrigues said, “They will have stories to tell their children, things they will keep in their minds and hearts forever, and that is priceless.”
Written by Diana Hong and Miha Trošt, FISU Young Reporters
The Brazilian University Sports Federation (CBDU) has just organized SUMMIT 2023, an educational event that aims to promote dialogue between student-athletes, the university sports community as a whole, brands, managers and enthusiasts of national and international sports on governance, performance and innovation.
The entire event can be viewed here: 2023 peak
When Fire Meets Ice: Watch the Video (also v FISU.tv)