LAKE BUENA VISTA (USA), FIG Office, April 15, 2012: The young Brazilian Acro teams, all first-time competitors at Worlds, see Lake Buena Vista as their classroom. In its debut appearance at the Acrobatic World Championships, Brazil's young acrobatic team has traveled to Florida to learn from the best in the world.
"We have to learn many things and take back this knowledge to our country to develop even more," said Dr. Gabriel Picarelli, speaking for national team coaches Marcia Janete Cologuenese and Ana Cecilia Zarontonelli. "The other thing is do a good presentation for Brazil. As it's our first competition, we want to make a good impression!
The discipline is currently practiced in Sao Paolo and Brasilia, but is still gaining traction as the country prepares to host the 2016 Olympic Games. Judge Deise Garcia was the first to complete an international course in acro, and in Sao Paolo, a small group has begun developing a team composed of gymnasts with a base in artistic or rhythmic, as well as acrobatic specialists.
In Lake Buena Vista, the 10-member Brazilian team -- mixed pairs couple Fabricio Carvalho de Abreu and Paloma Medeiros Justo Neves, women's groups Mariana Fortunato de Carvalho, Alessandra dos Santos, Barbara de Oliverira Morais and Fernanda Da Annunciacao, Carina Felix de Aflito, Juliana Zarantonello do Prado and men's pair Alexandre Pereira and Nelson de Araujo -- are cognizant that they will be presenting their routines before the best in the world.
"It is the first time, and we are so nervous!" laughed Pereira as he and the rest of the team watched an afternoon podium training session Saturday at the ESPN Wide World of Sports HP Field House. Dos Santos, who has watched "bits and pieces" of other countries's routines on YouTube, said she was most impressed by the Russian gymnasts, including 2010 World women's group champions Aigul Shaikhutdinova, Ekaterina Stroynova and Ekaterina Loginova.
Team members have varying levels of gymnastics experience, with several hailing from the artistic and rhythmic disciplines. Dos Santos began as an artistic gymnast and stopped for several years, only to join her acrobatic group after completing a national coaching and judging course. Pereira competed artistic with the city of Sao Paolo team but stopped when his team split up. He then began taking part in acro displays, which led to some regional competitions, "and one thing led to another," he said with a smile.
The Brazilians said they hope their appearance at this Acro Worlds is their first of many. But the coaches know the program has a ways to go before it is fully mature. Therefore, in Lake Buena Vista, "the main goal is first to learn," Picarelli said.