Bruno Schmidt, right, winner of the Olympic gold medal for Brazil in the men's beach volleyball at Rio 2016 with Alison Cerutti, left, has announced his retirement ©Getty Images

Beach volleyball player Bruno Schmidt, one of the stars of Brazil's home Olympic Games at Rio de Janeiro in 2016, has retired from the sport at the age of 36.

Playing with Alison Cerutti, Schmidt won gold in the men's beach volleyball tournament at the Copacabana Stadium at Rio 2016.

The pair had been crowned world champions the previous year.

Schmidt and his new playing partner Saymon Barbosa Santos reached the quarter-finals of the Beach Volleyball World Championships in Rome last year, but his last international title came in 2019.

He and Evandro Oliveira were beaten in the round of 16 by Latvia's Mārtiņš Pļaviņš and Edgars Točs at the re-arranged 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.

In February 2021 before the Olympic Games, Schmidt spent 13 days in hospital, including five in intensive care, because of a lung condition from a COVID-19 infection.

Bruno Schmidt competed for Brazil at Tokyo 2020, but lost in the round of 16 with Evandro Oliveira ©Getty Images
Bruno Schmidt competed for Brazil at Tokyo 2020, but lost in the round of 16 with Evandro Oliveira ©Getty Images

Schmidt announced his retirement from the sport on Brazilian television, and revealed his desire to focus on a career as a lawyer after graduating from the University of Vila Velha in Espírito Santo.

"It's a decision that didn't happen yesterday," he told TV Globo.

"It's a decision I've been making since I started to feel my performance drop, dating back to around 2018, when I started feeling a lot of pain in my knee.

"This made me see the end of my career as something close and possible.

"I went to the Tokyo Games, I participated in an Olympic event, there was the COVID-19 situation.

"Just being there was a lot.

"After the Olympics I thought: 'I'm going to end my career'.

"I had surgery on my knee and, incredible as it may seem, I got a competitive partner post-surgery."

Schmidt admitted that he had wanted to play for one more season, but that he no longer considered himself "a high-performance athlete, playing the way I used to play back then", and "this hurts a lot, more than defeats, than pain".

He is the nephew of former Brazilian basketball player Oscar Schmidt, the top scorer in the sport's Olympic Games history.