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The Brazilian Barber Battle

National competition in the Olympic city featured Rio 2016 as a design theme, with Christ the Redeemer also making the cut
A stroll near the Dicró Arena in Rio de Janeiro’s northern neighbourhood of Penha last Sunday (24 July) may have led a passer-by to assume that a warm-up event for a Rio 2016 competition was taking place. Uniformed delegations came and went and crowds cheered the action. Stopwatches recorded official times, while judges marked the competitors’ performances. And yet this was an event without athletes; a competition without sport. Armed with scissors and razors, the participants were taking part in an altogether different quest for glory: the Brazilian Barber Battle. Of course, the Olympic spirit is never far away during the build-up to the Rio 2016 Games, and the final of the competition featured the world’s biggest sporting event as a theme. “Nothing else is being talked about in the city. The Games will bring happiness and show Rio to the world. It’ll be a privilege to experience the next few weeks. That’s why, when we put together the schedule, we decided to choose Rio 2016 as the theme for the final. That way, people from the community can take part in the atmosphere,” said Erica Nunes, creator of the event.

The event featured four competitors: Ronyelison Costa, from Rio de Janeiro, Marcelo Anderson of São Paulo, Esmael Santos from the northeastern state of Bahia, and Nataniel Almeida, from neighbouring Minas Gerais.

Each competitor was given 40 minutes in which to reproduce a design that was chosen at random from three possibilities: a photo of Olympic champion sailor Torben Grael from Brazil, the Rio 2016 mascots Tom and Vinicius, and an original design that combined Christ the Redeemer, Rio 2016 and the Olympic rings. The latter design was selected and proved to be a challenge worthy of the competitors.

The cuts were considered by a panel of three judges, who opted for Marcelo Anderson’s interpretation. The joy on the champion barber’s face was clear to see, with his broad smile framed by a sharp goatee beard. “To win this competition on the eve of the Olympic Games is something unique. It had to be that theme,” said Marcelo, who is known by the nickname Magnífico (‘Magnificent’) and revealed that his dream client would be a certain Brazilian footballer with a reputation for style: Neymar. “It would be an honour. I’d do whatever he likes – it could be the Barcelona symbol, or, who knows, that of the Brazilian national team,” Marcelo said.
9NyEPwuSMarcelo’s model, Washington Santos, revealed his pride at taking the Rio 2016 Games with him wherever he goes, saying: “It looks great and helps me to get into the vibe.” Washington is also pinning his hopes on football hero Neymar, hoping to see him and the Brazilian Olympic team take gold at Rio 2016. Marcelo, meanwhile, is celebrating Olympic glory before the Games have even begun, saying: “I’m already in the mood. Even more now that I’ve won the title!”

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