Born: April 15, 1973 in Curitiba, Parana, Brazil
Category: Male Beach Player
Starting as a skinny kid learning the game of beach volleyball, Emanuel Rego of Brazil has retired with legendary status entering into the International Volleyball Hall of Fame. Quite a remarkable journey.
Emanuel ushered in a new generation of beach volleyball players when he first stepped on the sands of an international tournament in 1994. Throughout his 23 seasons competing against the world’s best beach players, he continually put his mark on the game and setting the bar higher. And his popularity has transcended country borders as Emanuel has fan clubs around the globe where he has competed.
Emanuel is well-known for his calm court demeanor, playing smartly and leading his partner by example. Nicknamed Bones, Emanuel is the only male to have competed in the first five Olympic Games featuring beach volleyball and he has three medals to show for his successes. After consecutive ninth-place finishes, he claimed Olympic gold in 2004 with Ricardo Santos, followed by the bronze medal in 2008 again with Ricardo and took silver in 2012 with Alison Cerutti.
The Brazilian legend, who started playing beach volleyball at the age of 17 on Brazil’s national tour, has enjoyed equal success on the FIVB World Tour and its World Championship. Emanuel claimed gold at the World Championships three times with three different partners, including 1999 in Marseille, 2003 in his home country of Brazil in Rio de Janeiro and in 2011 in Rome.
Emanuel’s status among the elite beach players lasted well over a decade as he ranked first in FIVB season points in 10 seasons with five different partners. He was part of four FIVB Team of the Year partnerships – three times with Ricardo (2005-2007) and once with Alison (2011).
Not counting national tours, Emanuel has played in a record 258 international tournaments with 156 podium finishes. Overall counting two domestic tours, Emanuel has a record 151 gold medals – 76 on the FIVB World Tour, 66 on Brazil’s national tour, seven on the United States’ AVP Tour and two in the Pan American Games. He also collected nearly $2.7 million in career international prize money.
The FIVB honored Emanuel with its Sportsperson of the Year award five times, including 2005, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014 and Most Outstanding Player in 2006 and 2011. His other FIVB honors include Best Hitter in 2006 and Most Inspirational in 2011, 2012 and 2015.
Emanuel also played four seasons on the AVP Tour including 1998 to 2000 and 2009. He made a quick impression on the American tour as he was named AVP Rookie of the Year in 1998 with four titles and nine podium finishes.
Emanuel’s passion for the the sport may not have happened if not for another International Volleyball Hall of Fame inductee, Karch Kiraly, leading the way. In his early teens, Emanuel became interested in volleyball after watching on television Kiraly leading the U.S. past Brazil for the 1984 Olympic Games gold medal in Los Angeles. “His play really inspired me,” Emanuel would say later.
Emanuel later got the chance to watch Kiraly in person on the Copacabana sand late in the 1980s. “I was so excited to see him play in person after watching him at the Olympics,” Emanuel said.
And now a generation of youth will look to Emanuel as their source of inspiration for playing beach volleyball. For his legendary career, we are proud to induct Emanuel Rego into the International Volleyball Hall of Fame as a beach player.