The Olympics might have taken place in Brazil this year (Rio de Janeiro to be precise), but that wasn’t where now-retired swimmer Fernando Scherer won his Olympic medals. He had to travel to Atlanta, Georgia in 1996, where he took the bronze medal in the 50-meter freestyle. Four years later in Sydney, he picked up his second Olympic bronze medal with the Brazilian relay team in the 4×100-meter freestyle.
But Scherer is finished with finishing third. From here on out, he has his sights set firmly on getting gold. At the beginning of the R$3,000 No Limit Hold’em Heads-Up event earlier this week, he made a prediction to Sergio Prado, the official blogger of PokerStars Brazil.
“I will win this tournament,” Scherer told Prado. “I know all the beasts are playing, but I am determined. I’m studying a lot. This tournament is mine, no one will beat me…”
He was right.
It was by no means an easy win for Scherer, who since retiring from professional swimming in 2007 has gone onto become a reality TV star and (who knows?) maybe even a professional poker player. He had to get through a few good players, including Adolfo Baeza who won the equivalent of this event in Uruguay earlier this year, before reaching heads up against Paulo Roberto Gonçalves. In the end Scherer proved too much and took it down.
Scherer, who goes by the nickname Xuxa, appeared on a Brazilian reality TV show called A Fazenda (or The Farm) back in 2009 – a Big Brother-esque show where the contestants live on a farm and perform the tasks of a farmer as the weeks go by. Well, ever since that show, Scherer’s chickens have all come home to roost (by that I don’t mean he’s ever done anything bad in the past, I just needed a farm pun, OK?)
He met his future wife on the show, actress and dancer Sheila Melo, and they would be wed the following year. Then the poker winning started in 2016. He took down the R$3,000 No Limit Hold’em 6-Handed Turbo Super Knockout event at the BSOP São Paulo 2016 earlier this year, defeating a final table that included Team Pro Andre Akkari. For that win, Scherer took home R$26,100.
Now that he has an additional R$34,800 in his bankroll, let’s see how he gets on over the rest of the BSOP and the LAPT. He’s certainly swimming in the right direction, now all he needs is a stroke of luck.
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Jack Stanton is a freelance contributor to the PokerStars Blog. Photos by Carlos Monti.