Beach Pro Tour - News


The 2024 Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour season couldn’t have started better for Carol Salgado and Bárbara Seixas, who after winning five Challenge tournaments between 2022 and 2023, got to celebrate their first Elite16 gold at the event held in Doha, Qatar, ten days ago.

The result has solidified the 36-year-old Brazilians in third place in the FIVB Olympic Rankings, putting them in a strong position to qualify for the upcoming Paris 2024 Games in a few months.

Their qualification would mark Barbara’s return to the Games for a second appearance after taking silver in Rio, in 2016, but would probably mean even more for Carol, who has first attempted to qualify for the Olympics back in 2008 and could finally get to represent Brazil for the first time after more than 20 years of work on the sand.

The veteran has been one of the most popular faces in international beach volleyball over the last two decades, having played a record 210 events since her first appearance in 2002, but hasn’t yet managed to qualify for the Olympics after attempts with her sister Maria Clara and London Olympian Maria Elisa Antonelli.

Born in the heart of a historic Brazilian volleyball family in Rio de Janeiro, Carol could become the third member of the Salgado clan to appear in the Games – her mother, Isabel, was part of the Brazilian volleyball roster in Moscow 1980 and Los Angeles 1984, while her brother, Pedro, competed in beach volleyball in Rio in 2016.

Carol’s Olympic experience won’t happen in the exact way she dreamed about because Isabel, her number one supporter, who got to play with and coach her at the start of her beach career, has passed away in November 2022 and won’t be there to watch her, but the blocker knows that when she steps foot on the sand at the feet of the Eiffel Tower, her mother will be there with her somehow.

We spoke with Carol about the final portion of the qualification period and her expectations for the next few months in an exclusive Volleyball World interview.

Volleyball World: The season started very well for Barbara and you with your victory in Doha. What’s your team’s strategy to continue near the top of the Olympic Rankings until the end of the qualification period?

Carol: We got back to training in January and worked hard from the very first day because we knew that the start of the season would be very important for us. At every tournament we go to, all we want is to play the best we can, but also have fun. Our strategy is to play the way we think it’s best for us, trust our team and focus on the things we can control.

VW: There are still some tournaments left until the end of the qualification period, but Barbara and you are in a very good spot in the Rankings and have a sizeable lead over the third-best Brazilian team. How confident are you that your team is going to be able to do what it needs and qualify?

Carol: We still have a few tournaments until the end of the qualification period and a lot can happen, so our focus is on us. We want to take it one tournament at a time, focus on how we work and prepare and really put our energy and effort into what we can control. Every finish matters and we want to be able to do our best in each event. That’s how we’re approaching it.

VW: You first attempted to qualify for the Olympics in Beijing 2008. Do you think that now is the closest you’ve ever been to accomplishing that goal? What motivated you to keep chasing this dream for so long?

Carol: I’ve been playing beach volleyball for a long time and, to be honest, what makes me continue to play is the love I have for the sport. I love playing and I love everything that the sport has brought and still brings to my life. Making it to the Olympics is a big dream I have, of course, but I keep playing for the love of the sport. I have a lot of fun on the court and I enjoy every second and every aspect of it. So it’s not about playing for a goal or a tournament, but about how well I feel and how much I enjoy when I’m playing and training. Playing at the Olympics is a dream and, being a Brazilian, it’s a very hard one to achieve because we have so many great teams competing for just two spots. I think I’ve been able to remain strong mentally to keep pursuing it for so long. This is the closest I’ve ever been to qualify, so I want to enjoy the process and finish strong.

VW: This last year was very difficult for you, with the loss of your mother. How did you manage to move forward, remain focused on your professional goals and get great results on the Beach Pro Tour?

Carol: Yes, this last year was certainly the most difficult in my life. I think I could only remain on my feet and keep going because of the strength my mother gave me. I feel her inside of me and it’s certainly her power that makes me continue to go forward.

VW: Your family has a history in the Olympics, as both your mother and your brother Pedro have represented Brazil before. What would it mean to you to become another Olympian in the family? Is there any Olympic memory that one of them shared with you that makes you want it even more?

Carol: My family has a beautiful history in volleyball, but I can’t think of an Olympic moment that was particularly special. I think that more than loving the Olympics specifically, my mother has passed me a love for the sport in general. She loved being on the court and I grew up watching her play and having a lot of fun on the court and that inspired me.

VW: Your current coach, Letícia Pessoa, is one of the winningest beach volleyball professionals in Brazil and even coached you mother several decades ago. How has it been to work with her? What do you think makes her such an accomplished coach?

Carol: I’ve known Letícia for a long time and to be working with her now, it has been such an enriching experience. She has some qualities that, in my opinion, are essential for a coach. She gives her absolute everything to her teams and we know she’ll do whatever it takes to help us in any situation. She’s someone who will be by our side for whatever we need and who will celebrate any tiny improvement we make, which is incredible to see. She’s also very eager to improve and is always watching film and finding new ways to get better. I think that keeping this mindset after everything she’s won is what makes her such an incredible coach.

VW: You’re probably one of the few athletes involved in the Olympic race who got to play the World Tour events held in Paris at the same site as the 2024 Games. What are your memories from that location and what do you expect the atmosphere to be like during the Olympics?

Carol: Yes, I think I played twice in that location back in the day. It was really cool, a true privilege, to be able to play at such a special place. Those were amazing tournaments and to be able to play the Olympics with that fantastic background will be a dream. I’m sure it’s going to be beautiful and really, really special.

VW: A couple of years ago, you started your beach volleyball social program in Rio, the Instituto Levante. What motivated you to do that and how has it been to be involved with it?

Carol: Rio is a city that shows the social differences we have in Brazil like no other place and the Leblon neighborhood even more. I’ve always dreamed about starting a social program and giving a little bit back to volleyball after all the sport has given me. At first, I thought I was only going to be able to start it when I retired, but then I realized that there was never going to be a perfect moment for it and that I had the energy to make it happen now. I count on the support of a lot of friends who dedicate their time to help us. I got it started after some phone calls to friends and now we have 120 kids there, which makes me really happy. It’s been an unbelievable experience, every time I get to spend time with them, I get back home with a big smile in my face. Our goal is to serve as a place where kids can meet, play sports, have fun and make their days better.