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When fire meets ice: Brazil’s curling experience

21 March 2023

In a few months, at the Chengdu 2021 FISU World University Games (28 July-8 August), Brazilian student-athletes will be at ease in many disciplines and among the top favourites in some. After all, these are Summer Games and it is when you expect Brazil to shine.

But a few months ago, the Brazilian University Sports Federation (CBDU) also sent a small delegation to the Lake Placid 2023 FISU World University Games. It included a curling team and this was Brazil’s first time competing in that sport at the FISU Games.

Due to winter sports not being common in the country, Brazil has not yet won any medals at the winter edition of the biennial event. So, that was a huge stepping stone for their winter sport community.

When they headed into their game against Sweden midway through the tournament they had already five losses on their scoresheet, and despite their best efforts fell again to their Nordic opponents. The rest of the competition did not change much and while improving, they eventually ended in last place. However, this did not stop Team Brazil from having fun.

“Considering all our games, we have played well. I mean, more than we have expected, to be honest. We were expecting to not be as competitive, so we’re very happy … and that’s pretty significant for us,” fourth Vitor de Melo said.

Although curling is still uncommon in Brazil, Melo is just happy to have Brazilians back home recognize his sport, as began when he competed at the 2020 Winter Youth Olympics.

“It’s starting to become more popular. During the Olympics it really stood out to Brazilians. At least they know the sport and that’s a good thing,” he said.

In Canada, curling is very popular from children to elders. It’s a sport that many Canadians enjoy playing for life and all four members of Team Brazil are based in British Columbia for training.

“In Canada we are very privileged to have some good facilities to practice in. The fact that we are all based in Vancouver, where we have a big Brazilian community, definitely helps with our chemistry,” he added.

In Lake Placid, Canada defeated Brazil 10-2, but the Canadians could see how important enjoying the experience meant.

“It looks like they are having a lot of fun,” said Canadian skip Owen Purcell after the game. “And I think that’s ultimately the most important thing when you’re going to an event like this because sometimes it’s very easy to get caught up in competitive spirit and you just want to win all your games and dialled in, but there needs to be times when you can just look around and be like ‘wow, this is really amazing.’”

Amazing! Indeed, the word was on the lips of each of the Brazilian curlers. As their coach Marcio Rodrigues said: “They will have stories to tell to their kids, things they will keep in their mind and in their heart for ever, and this is priceless.”

Written By Diana Hong and Miha Trošt, FISU Young Reporters

Related information:

The Brazilian University Sports Federation (CBDU) just held its SUMMIT 2023, an educational event that aims to promote a dialogue between student-athletes, the university sports community as a whole, brands, managers and enthusiasts of national and international sports on management, performance and innovation.

You can watch the whole event here: Summit 2023

When fire meets ice: Watch the video (also on