A new Brazilian election cycle has arrived and with it a new batch of news rumors of former Brazilian men’s national volleyball team head coach Bernardinho coming up as a serious candidate, be it for federal, state, or municipal office.. This time, though, rumors are taking a more substantial and serious connotation, being noticed on Brazil’s major news outlets.
Bernardinho has always been an icon and brand of success, discipline, and power of will in Brazilian society as a whole, not just in sports. It is only natural, then, that this is seen by political agents, and maybe even Bernardinho himself, as a chance of capitalizing on his highly respected public image persona.
He was, during most of his political involvements, affiliated to PSDB (Brazilian Social Democracy Party) for a number of years. He recently asked for revocation of his membership after a number of corruption scandals involving the party was investigated by federal authorities, mostly involving former presidential candidate, actual federal senator, personal friend, and most important political associate Aécio Neves. He then proceeded to join newly formed Partido Novo (New Party), a political party of only two years of existence, that self proclaims alignment to classical liberalism, and prides itself in being composed by private sector intellectuals with no political experience. Bernadinho himself majored in economics from a respectable university and is a successful businessman, owning shares of famous restaurants, Latin America’s largest commercial gym franchise, and online education platforms.
Being initially regarded as the perfect presidential candidate for the party in the 2018 elections, rumors have taken a less ambitious road and are now solely focused on Bernadinho’s intention of running for the state government. If he does, he will have difficulties much bigger than his job as one of the most successful volleyball coaches in the history of the sport. The state of Rio de Janeiro is amidst one of its biggest political and financial crisis of its history. New corruption scandals are evidenced everyday in the media, public servants’ salaries are several months late, workers are on strike, and basic public services, such as health and education, are badly precarious.
After striking gold for a second time in his career with the men’s national team at the Rio 2016 Olympic games, Bernadinho shock volleyball fans all over the world stepping down from command after 16 years, supporting and appointing personal friend and ex-teammate Renan Del Zotto as the new men’s national team head coach. Don’t be surprised if he startles the public once again with another big change.