After 4.5 years together, current Olympic Champions Alison Cerutti and Bruno Schmidt decided to end their partnership, causing a domino effect in much of Brazilian beach volleyball. One of the most successful recent tandems in the sport, the duo also won the 2015 World Cup, the 2015 and 2016 World Tours, and countless lower-tier tournaments. Despite having made almost 550k USD in World Tour prize money in their tenure together, Bruno went on record for Globo.com to say that the lack of winnings and the sport’s amateur status were the biggest culprits for the duo’s decision:
“Alison and I were a very successful duo during 4 years. There are partnerships that go even longer, which is great, because it ends up building a sense of identity in the sport. However, beach volleyball is still amateur in a lot aspects. Contracts are never written down, everything is settled by word of the mouth. The partnerships have to survive on results and prize money alone. If Alison and I survived as a duo for four years, it was because of results on the courts. In beach volleyball, when things start to go south, the best thing for players to do is to look for new partnerships, to get out of their comfort zones. That is exactly how I feel right now.”
Alison does have a point. Although his partnership with Alison netted 550k USD in their four years together, their earnings from 2017-2018 came to only 49k USD, less than 10% of the duo’s total earnings. Still, as one of sport’s richest athletes, Bruno’s complaints about the amateur status of it all must have angered some of his Brazilian peers, as the modality is currently in dire financial straits in Brazil, with players having to sell personal belongings in order to keep their careers afloat.
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