Olympic Knights: Alumni Shine in Rio



By Jenna Marina

ORLANDO, Fla. (Aug. 12, 2016) – For UCF’s three alumni participating at this year’s Olympics, life has been busy in Rio.

Aline Reis ’11 (Brazil, soccer) along with Ricardo Gouveia ’14 (Portugal, golf) are making their first Olympic Games appearances while three-time Olympian Phil Dalhausser ’02 is on the road to recreating magic from the 2008 Beijing Games when he won gold for Team USA in beach volleyball.

With week one of the Olympics in the books, here’s a look at what has happened already, and what is coming up for each Olympian.

Phil Dalhausser
Dalhausser, a 2002 business graduate, and his partner Nick Lucena dominated their first two matches of pool play, sweeping Tunisia and Mexico.

On Thursday afternoon at Copacabana Beach, they outlasted Italy in a thrilling and intense back-and-forth record-breaking third set (24-22). The third set in a beach volleyball match is supposed to be up to 15 — but the team has to win by 2. Dalhausser/Lucena’s third set was the longest final set in the 20-year history of Olympic beach volleyball. Click here to see highlights of the match

According to USA Today, both teams received a standing ovation.

The victory was extra sweet for UCF’s alumnus, as Italy’s Nicolai and Lupo were the pair that knocked him out of the 2012 Olympics in London. 

Dalhausser and Lucena advance to Saturday’s Round of 16 matchup against Austria’s Alexander Huber/R. Seidel scheduled for 11 p.m. ET. Watch link

Dalhausser has previously said these Olympic Games – his third – are likely his last. He told USA Today that before his opening match against Tunisia, he woke up with butterflies.

“It’s the first time since, man, I can’t tell you how long,” Dalhausser said. “I can’t remember being nervous in London, maybe Beijing was the last time I was nervous before a match.”

Aline Reis
Reis’ first appearance for Brazil’s National Team couldn’t have been more memorable. UCF’s former All-American goalkeeper started in Aug. 9’s match against South Africa – the team’s third match of the Olympics – and played all 90 minutes in goal, recording two saves to secure a shutout in the 0-0 tie.

Reis, an interdisciplinary studies alumna, was called up to Brazil’s National Team Camp in February with no guarantees of a spot on the Olympic roster. She had never competed in a match for Brazil’s National Team before Tuesday night.

As Brazil’s reserve goalkeeper, Reis said she takes great pride in her role on the team and has always approached each day with a “starter’s mentality.”

“If I’m the reserve, I believe the starting goalkeeper deserves nothing less from me. I want to push her so she can also perform her best, I know this way I’m helping the team, as well,” she wrote in a message to UCF Alumni. “But I have never lost faith, and I knew that if I had the opportunity to play in a game, I would be ready for it. Thankfully, the opportunity did come! It was magical! The best part of it was listening to the whole stadium sing our national anthem. Words cannot describe that moment.”

Brazil is known for its love of soccer, but the country traditionally throws all of its support behind the men’s team. This Olympics, however, things are changing, especially with the men’s team’s early struggles of failing to win their first two matches.

Fans are making their own women’s jerseys. Dozens of supporters are showing up at airports as the team travels around Brazil for their games to either send them off or welcome them with cheers, well wishes and posters. Roughly 40,000 people attended the Brazil-South Africa matchup in Manaus.

Reis said it has been incredible to see the outpouring of love and fandom.

“All this attention we are receiving is a blessing and gives us the opportunity to change the face of women’s soccer in this country. My dream is that one day women’s soccer can be everything it is in the USA,” she wrote. “I’m just thankful and proud to be part of this whole experience and this special moment. I seriously hope that our contributions will serve our country and our sport in ways beyond the soccer field. We want more than just a gold medal!”

Brazil advanced to Aug. 12’s quarterfinal round and will face Australia at 9 p.m. Watch link

Ricardo Gouveia
Ricardo-APGouveia, an interdisciplinary studies alumnus, was part of golf’s historic return to the Olympics in Thursday’s first round. It marked the first time the sport has been featured in the Summer Games since 1904.

Gouveia is one of 60 players from 34 nations competing over the weekend looking to capture glory in Sunday’s medal round.

At the conclusion of Thursday’s 18-hole competition, Gouveia was tied for 42nd with a score of 73. The leader after Day 1, Marcus Fraser of Australia, turned in a score of an 8-under-par 63.

The Golf Channel is airing live coverage on Friday and Saturday from 6:30 a.m. – 3 p.m. Golf channel will begin Sunday’s medal round coverage at 6:30 a.m. and air it until the broadcast switches to NBC from 1-3 p.m.


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