Considered one of the greatest volleyball players in the world, Rajzman competed in two Olympiads for the Brazilian men's volleyball team. At the 1976 Montreal Olympics, the Brazilians lost to the Soviet Union (0-3), Japan (0-3) in their preliminary group, and then lost in the semifinals to South Korea (2-3). In their final match, Brazil faced Italy in the seventh place game and won the game, 3-2. Rajzman then returned to the Olympics eight years later, and won a medal.
At the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, Brazil was placed in Group A of the preliminary compeition. An outside hitter, Rajzman struggled in his team's first game against Argentina, making only 15-37 kills (37%), although the Brazilians won, 3-1 (15-8, 15-8, 16-18, and 15-13). Bernard played much better and led the team in kills with 12 (out of 23 attempts) to an easy 3-0 win over Tunisia(15-5, 15-9, 15-2). Rajzman continued his excellent play against South Korea, making 71% of his kills, but Brazil was upset by the Koreans, 1-3 (4-15, 13-15, 15-13, 8-15). In their final preliminary game, Rajzman had a personal-high 30 kills as the Brazilians rebounded from their defeat and swept the U.S. team, 3-0 (15-10, 15-11, 15-2). The victory gave them 7 points in the group, tied for first with the U.S. and South Korea; the Brazilians won the group, however, because they won the most sets in the round.
Because they won their group, Brazil automatically advanced to the semifinals, where they played Italy. Bernard was successful on 57% of his kill attempts (16-28) as the Brazilians made quick work of their opponents despite losing the first set; they won 3-1 (12-15, 15-2, 15-3, 15-5). The victory sent the Brazilians to the gold medal match, where they had a rematch with the U.S. Like the rest of the Brazilian team, Rajzman struggled and made only 12-25 kills as the U.S. swept all three sets (6-15, 6-15, 7-15). Although they lost their final match. Bernard (who had a total of 101 kills in the tournament) and the Brazilian squad won the silver medal.
In the late 1970s and 1980s, Rajzman was one of the top volleyball players in the world. A member of the Brazilian national team for a decade, he helped Brazil win the gold medal at the 1983 Pan American Games.
An outstanding outside hitter, Bernard was also an terrific server who played for clubs in Italy and Brazil. He helped lead Atlantica Boa Vista to the Brazilian League (Superliga) championship in 1981 and to a second place finish the following year; from 1983-1986, his club, Bradesco-Atlantica, finished in second place. In 1987, he joined the FIVB beach volleyball circuit; his best finish was second place at the 1998 Brazil Open.
In 2000, Rajzman was among the finalists for the Best Volleyball Champion of the 20th Century announced by the FIVB (International Volleyball Federation). Rajzman is currently president of the National Commission of Athletes in Brazil, and a state congressman.
Birth and Death Dates:
b. April 24, 1957
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Use links below to navigate through the olympics section of Jews In Sports.
Jewish Sports Legends: The International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame, by Joseph Siegman (Washington, D.C.: Brassey's, 2000)
New York Times, July 19-July 30, 1976