Born: June 16, 1973 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Category: Female Beach Player
Sandra Pires helped usher in beach volleyball at the Olympic Games in 1996 in Atlanta and was a dominant force on the sand for many years.
After playing one FIVB SWATCH Tour event in 1993, Sandra skipped the 1994 international season to play on the United States’ AVP domestic tour with fellow Hall of Famer Jackie Silva as the pair won three events along with posting eight podium placements and 10 “final four” finishes. Sandra was named the AVP Rookie of the Year in 1994. Sandra and Jackie returned to the SWATCH tour in 1995, which led to consecutive annual FIVB Tour Champion titles. The duo continued their international success with gold medals at the Atlanta 1996 Olympic Games and the 1997 SWATCH-FIVB World Championships at Los Angeles.
For four seasons together on the FIVB SWATCH tour, Sandra and Jackie won over 84 percent of their matches going 139-26 and winning 12 of their 18 title matches. The pair never finished below fourth in 29 SWATCH stops with 28 podium placement, remarkable feat of consistency.
Sandra later joined forces with Adriana Samuel at the start of the 1998 SWATCH season as the pair played together through the 2000 season. Sandra and Adriana finished fourth at the 1999 SWATCH-FIVB World Championships before claiming the bronze medal at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games where Sandra was honored by her country’s Olympic Committee by becoming the first woman to carry the Brazilian flag into the opening ceremonies.
After playing with Tatiana Minello and Leila Barros the next two seasons, which included a Silver medal at the 2001 FIVB World Championship, Sandra teamed with Ana Paula Connelly in 2003 to pursue a spot in the Athens 2004 Olympic Games. Highlighted by the 2003 FIVB Tour Champions award for most points accumulated over the season, Sandra and Ana Paula qualified for the 2004 Olympics where they placed fifth.
Sandra won 20 FIVB titles and reached the medal podium in 110 FIVB events. Sandra was named "Best Player of the Decade" 1990-2000 by the FIVB.
Sandra is still involved with beach volleyball events as a commentator for Globo Sport TV. She covered the London 2012 Games and the 2012 Brazilian national tour among other events.
And so, we welcome Sandra Pires, in the beach player category, as a 2014 Inductee to the International Volleyball Hall of Fame.