Created to recover, witness and preserve the sports history of Santos – considered the sportiest municipality in Brazil since 1955 – the De Vaney Sports Memorial Center boasts a collection of more than 500 trophies won from 1939.
The museum also houses photographic and personal collections with more than a thousand images, library and sports newspaper collection with journalistic material organized according to subject and sport. There are also records of veteran athletes, CDs and DVDs, research material, statements, auditorium for talks and small events. The museum offers guided tours, publishes information and has a choir of veteran athletes, which meets weekly.
The oldest image in the photography collection dates back to 1896 – it records a football match on an amateur sports field in São Paulo. Photographs of King Pelé taking a shower, in his car, beside the Queen of Sweden and making coffee all catch the visitor’s’ eye.
The museum boasts 16 glass cases, separated according to sport, exhibiting trophies from the Open and Regional Games. The collection gets bigger each year, when the museum receives the trophies won by Santos teams in the Open Games. Renata Agondi, Benedita de Souza and Daniele Zangrando are some of the athletes whose trophies and medals are exhibited here.
Inaugurated on October 7, 1991, the museum is home to a Sports Document Archive, begun in 1997 and today with 2,165 names of participants in the municipality’s Official Games, in all sports, between 1939 and 1988. There are also summaries of Santos Football Club games from 1920 on, archives on Pelé, Ayrton Senna and athletes from Santos, information on sports not yet introduced in Brazil, videos showing World Cups and Olympics.
The most sporting municipality in Brazil
Santos first participated in the Open Games in 1939, a time when this even involved all Brazilian municipalities, not just those in São Paulo State. The city established itself as champion in athletics and swimming. But, in order to retain definitive possession of the trophies, local athletes had to pull out all the stops and win the championship titles three times in a row. So began the glory days that would guarantee Santos in 1956 the title of ‘The Most Sporting Municipality in Brazil’, a recognition only made possible thanks to journalist Adriano Neiva da Motta e Silva, otherwise known as De Vaney, whose research helped to prove that Santos had the highest number of clubs, courts, pools and football fields in the country. As a result, the city rose to the challenge issued by the Rio de Janeiro newspaper, O Globo.
The city’s first records of organized sport appeared on the subject of rowing and the competitions for boats or regattas in the clubs in Ponta da Praia. Participants used to jump into the sea from a trampoline opposite the clubs and then cross to Guarujá, a habit that instigated the Cross Channel Swim. Tennis and athletics were also popular. Football, however, only began to be organized in Santos around 1912.
The collection at the Sports Memory Center began to take shape in 1991, with the archives belonging to De Vaney, who had died on 29 January, 1990. He was known as “The poet of Brazilian sports writing”. At the age of 17, he began in journalism, a profession to which he devoted himself in the following 63 years – he would write about all sports, at all levels. In the museum you can also find his sports writings and typewriter.