Bia Franklin

Sport: Women’s volleyball

Age: 20

Year: Junior

Hometown: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Major: Business

 

Question: I don’t want to be Captain Obvious here, but Columbus is not Rio de Janeiro. How are you dealing with that?

Answer: Columbus is awesome; it was really easy to adapt and live here. I miss being by the ocean, but besides that it has been really fun to get to explore all the restaurants, local boutiques and even get to experience the snow.

Q: What do you miss more, Rio’s beaches or the food?

A: I miss the beaches more than anything. There are some Brazilian restaurants in Columbus that really help when I am craving food from home.

 

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Q: What is one particular Brazilian meal that you’re desperately missing while you’re here in Ohio?

A: Açaí is the food I miss the most. We have some açaí places here in Columbus but they are definitely not the same.

Q: In that vein, what is one food you’ve discovered here that you plan to take home to Brazil? (Please say funnel cakes.)

A: FUNNEL CAKES!

Q: There’s no Copacabana, but Columbus does have a little sand here and there; have you found enough to play some beach volleyball?

A: Our team loves to play beach volleyball over the summer and we always have a blast. We even had a little tournament last year, which was a lot of fun.

Q: It’s been crazy hot here for months, of course, but soon enough … On a scale of 1 to 10, how do you feel about Ohio winters?

A: I’d say a 4. I absolutely love sledding and playing in the snow. Walking to class in the snow, on the other hand, is not as fun.

Q: What can you tell us about your family back home?

A: My parents are Carlos and Gabriela. They are both doctors. I have a younger brother, Felipe, who’s 19. He also plays volleyball and he is my absolute best friend.

Q: Rio is about 5,000 miles away and at least a $1,000 plane ticket from Columbus; how often have you seen your family since you arrived at Ohio State?

A: Our family is extremely close, so I go home for summer break and Christmas every year. My parents come once a season to watch our team play.

Q: Volleyball is serious business in Brazil, right? Beyond excellent national teams, aren’t there pro leagues for men and women?

A: Yes, the Brazilian volleyball league is one of the best in the world. I think that having the chance to grow up watching them play taught me a lot. I always wanted to grow up and be like them.

Q: Which is more popular in Brazil, indoor or beach?

A: That’s a really hard question. I think it’s a tie.

Q: Do you have a favorite team back home?

A: Yes. The club I played for growing up, Fluminense, has a pro volleyball team and I am a diehard fan. I cheer them on from far away and go to games when I am at home. A lot of girls I grew up with play pro there now. It is so much fun to see.

Q: Do you have a favorite volleyball player, someone you emulate or who has inspired you?

A: Fabi Alvim has been the libero for our national team for more than 10 years. She won two Olympic gold medals and is the most amazing player I’ve ever seen. Getting the chance to know her taught me so much about hard work. She never stopped chasing her dreams.

Q: What are your goals for volleyball? I know you played on national junior teams; do you have Olympic aspirations?

A: I try to stay in the moment and not think a lot about the future. I had amazing years with the junior national team, but right now I want to win a national championship here at Ohio State. That’s all I am really focused on.

Q: How different is college volleyball in the U.S. to volleyball in Brazil? Do good players in Brazil often come to the States to play in college?

A: The game here in the U.S. is a lot faster and physical while at home it’s a lot more technical. It took me some time to adapt but I feel really lucky to have experienced both. I believe that having to adapt made me a better player.

Q: The Big Ten is generally considered the best volleyball conference in the country; how have you found the competition here?

A: The Big Ten is a physical and competitive conference. Being only 5 feet 10 definitely makes me one of the shortest hitters in the Big Ten. It is motivating and challenging to know that I have to work harder and be on top of my game every day.

Q: OK, so let’s say Brazil equals Ohio State; which Big Ten team would you consider your Argentina — your big rival?

A: That Team Up North.

Q: Last thing about volleyball: I understand you’ve helped organize a big event coming up next week for your game against Michigan State, a “pink game” to fight cancer; how did that come about?

A: I had the chance to intern this summer at the James and it was an amazing experience. The idea of connecting athletics to everything I learned the past few months while recognizing cancer survivors was an exciting opportunity for me. It was really fun to work with so many different departments to put this game together. I hope all the survivors feel appreciated and enjoy the game.

Q: And last of all, what TV show would you like to be binge-watching right now?

A: I can never get sick of “Grey’s Anatomy.” It is my all-time favorite.

rstein@dispatch.com