We hate this part.
Get your Kleenex ready because your favorite player/s might be retiring after the Olympics…
After the 2008 Olympics, lots of world class players folded their long & successful volleyball careers. Players like Lloy Ball (USA), Feng Kun (CHN), Fofao (BRA), Yumilka Ruiz (CUB) and Alberto Cisolla (ITA) rested their volleyball laurels after a long period representing their respective countries.
With the end of the 2009- 2012 Olympic cycle coming to an end in London, a new quadrennial is bound to start and so another set of players have announced their retirement. No doubt we’d miss these volleyball veterans. We have no idea if their retirement is permanent or temporary but only the volleyball gods know what the future will be.
First on our list is …
Lindsey Berg (USA)
Lindsey’s official statement:
“I am done. I have given a lot of my heart and soul and it has been an incredible outcome, more than I have ever imagined. I think there are a couple of us who I think are done and have no regrets. There are a lot of girls who stay in this program for a long time and there is a reason for it. The support is great. The people in this program are incredible and we come together every summer and other sports do not do that, but we do it. It is incredible.
It is going to be a change, but I am really content with what I have accomplished, what I have accomplished with my teammates. I am personally ready to move on. I can’t speak for others, but it has been incredible, and if I went back, I wouldn’t change a thing.
Everything, everything I have not been able to do. I have this passion for fashion that other people have talked about, and I have some entrepreneurial things in the works. I want to spend some time with family that I haven’t been able to.
I want to get into some things that are way different from volleyball. The easiest thing would probably be to coach, and I think I would be a good coach. As of now, I have put so much heart and soul into playing that I need a little break as of now. I can’t say that I will never return to it, but as of now I need to move on.”
(source: USA Volleyball/ image: FIVB)
Samuele Papi (ITA)
Samuele has played in 4 Olympic Games. He won silver in 1996 and 2004, a bronze in 2000 and 2012. After London, Papi has made up his mind to finally retire from the international scene.
“I’m happy for this, really. This was an outstanding medal, it wasn’t easy. I have to thank all my teammates, starting from captain “Sava” Savani. We wanted this bronze so fondly. And we want to dedicate it to our friend Vigor Bovolenta, he has been always with us.”
“My expectations to be here where below zero, last summer. Then the mobile rang a few months ago. Mauro Berruto explained me what he wanted for me, which was my role in the roster. I knew I had to serve the team playing barely. I answered that for another Olympic games I would have done everything I was requested of. I never dreamed of another bronze, I got to thank my teammates.”
“Atlanta recalls me every time the last rally. That’s undeletable. From Sydney, I think about the first set that we were not able to close against Yugoslavia. From Athens, a picture of the podium: that silver medal was a huge result for us because it was so difficult to arrive there, I remember a fantastic semifinal against Russia. I can’t take any pictures back from London, because I would like to take at home every single shot. Ah, I would like to take home even the alarm-clock: to play the bronze final it was set at 5.45 a.m.!”
“It’s official, you don’t need to stand me no more. Maybe we’ll see each other in a mixed zone with myself at your side as commentator. Or on this side in Rio as a beach volleyball player… No, I’m kidding, don’t take note…”.
(image & source: FIVB)
Milagros Cabral (DOM)
Team Dominican Republic…
“It’s a big satisfaction to be part of this group of players. It’s a dream that comes true. It means a lot for my country as well, because thanks to the Heroes I believe I can inspire many children in the Dominican Republic who are dreaming about being in my place. There are children imagining every day to be a hero. I give them my helping hand. I really feel like if I was Superman.”
“When I was young, I was a dreamer. I had a dream for my life, I wanted it strongly, and now I got what I was dreaming of. Yes, I was fourteen when I stepped into a volleyball court. I enjoyed it so much and I asked my mother to give me the possibility to stay, to continue to play for the selection I joined. My mother said “You have one year”. I clearly have in mind that moment. My mum wanted me to continue with the school, to go to the university. I used my chances.”
Development and Progress…
“The project of our federation was really fruitful. You can see it since we’re here at the Olympic Games. In our country we do a fantastic work with grassroots. We start with the beginners, we have a number of coaches not only from Dominican Republic, but from Cuba or Brazil as well. Their objective is to teach you to become a good player, starting from the very beginning. And of course your career can continue with youth and junior, but the work on the basis of the sport is the most important”.
“After the London Olympics I will stop playing, I will leave my place to the new generation. Believe me, there’s a new young group of players who’s really strong, girls everybody will talk about in the upcoming years. I will dedicate myself to study sport administration and I’ll try to help the kids of the suburbs in my country. I want them to fulfill their own dream as I did when I was a child.”
(image & source: FIVB)
Bojan Janic (SRB)
Bojan’s Statement in Serbian:
“Врућ” сам сада, хајде да тако кажем, али мислим да је ово била моја последња утакмица у репрезентацији. Уморан сам психички од свега. Цео живот сам живео за репрезентацију, није патетика, једва сам чекао сваке припреме, свих ових десет година. Репрезентација је мој дечачки сан, који ја живим и који се не може описати. Ипак, мислим да млађи долазе, нова генерација је ту, ја им желим све најлепше у будућности, био ја ту, или не.”
English Translation by Omar:
“Out” I can now say so. I think this was my last match in the team. I’m tired, mentally more than anything else. All my life I’ve lived for the National Team, it’s not pathetic. I could hardly wait for each practice and game, during all these ten years. The National Team was my childhood dream, which I have now lived and which can not be described with words. However, I think younger players have come, a new generation is here. I wish them all the best for the future, whether I’m here or not. “
(source: zurnal.rs /index.html/ image: FIVB)
Yoshie Takeshita (JPN)
On winning an Olympic bronze in London…
“To be honest, our generation did not know the exact honour of the bronze in Los Angeles; we didn’t live the glorious era of Japanese volleyball. Representing Japan is something very special and now we’re thinking about what we have made here in London. To be back on the podium is a great moment: it’s a fantastic achievement for our volleyball family.”
On beating Korea for the bronze without any block point/s:
“That’s really Japanese volleyball!”
On her future & retirement…
“We made it, we have to go and the younger generation should come now. We knew it before coming here. Until now I have been doing my best and I believe I’ve sent already a good message to all the boys and girls in Japan.”
Takeshita Blocks Gamova
(source & image: FIVB)
Jason Haldane (GBR)
“I’ve learnt a lot of my volleyball playing professionally in France and then in all the other country I’ve been. I tried to pass along the experience but it’s difficult when you don’t have so many top international matches through the summer. We did not get in the last CEV European League, it really hurts the level that we needed coming in the Olympic Games. We’re in a strong pool. Australia is number 22 in the world ranking, sure, but think about their international experience of their players, compared to ours.”
Lack of Financial Support…
“Of course it’s always more difficult if you have a lack of money: we got experience in the European League and the most important year you could not participate in the competition. As a player, if you want to progress you need to play top matches. Of course we’re not able to play the FIVB World League, but the CEV European League anyway puts you every week under pressure and you learn by playing. It’s a huge benefit. But we could not have it.”
From Team Canada to Team Great Britain…
“It’s always difficult to change country. I had a lot of loyalty to Canada, they helped me, they gave me a lot of opportunities and the chance to play as an international player. I feel like I have a maple leaf in my heart but I’m 100% with GB team. I want to do the best to win for the country.”
“Our legacy is a serious issue. I have some doubts because of what I’ve seen through Canada, France, Italy, anywhere else in Europe. If you want to progress you should watch what the Australians did when they hosted the Olympic Games in Sydney 2000 and where they are now. They qualified again for the Olympics. It didn’t come overnight, it takes a lot of work to become a popular sport. You need to make sure you grow the sport and get us players more involved with the kids, doing more camps. In Canada they’ve done that. I was shocked to go back to Canada seeing how many people are involved and interested in volleyball. It’s a very difficult task to leave a legacy. The last days with 15,000 people per sessions, with spectators so excited, well, everyone would like to make sure that this thing will continue. I wish I had the answers, I wish I could have done a lot more. I hope that they will continue to insist.”
“For me, it’s pretty much, I’m going to retire. My goal was to participate in the Olympics and to win two or three games and to qualify for the quarter finals. That dream is extremely difficult, but I’m happy because I worked hard enough to be able to still play at this level. Maybe I’m not talented as the younger kids but I had determination. It is tough, at 41 you know you have to put more and more effort in your physical preparation and you’ve got make sure it’s pretty much. This summer I’ve been breathing, eating, living only volleyball and the only way you can do it is spending a lot of time in the gym, not only lifting weights but with “cardio”, with the balls. Of course I’ve got problems like the rest of us, but I think I have to dig a little deeper. Sometimes in the morning I cannot walk, but being here was the dream of my life, to be able to play the Olympic Games. I had the chance. The competition is high and it hurts me because I don’t fill like I’m 41. I’m still young at heart and I want to win. That’s the main thing for me.”
(source & image: FIVB)
Ekaterina Gamova (RUS)
2012 London Olympics…
“I think these Olympic Games were the best I’ve seen. Perfect organization, definitely the best I have ever played. During the tournament things were running easily because our opponents were not that strong. But then we faced Brazil and that was a tough match. We did everything we could. Maybe with less mistakes, maybe we could have played cleaner… But we lost.”
Going back to school…
“Unfortunately I never started. I did apply to the journalism course at the University in Moscow, but I didn’t have the chance to study really. Perhaps now I will have more time without the national team and a better chance to do it.”
People and Volleyball…
“The people who coached me: they were not only volleyball teachers, I learned a lot from them, as they taught me much more than my sport skills. Volleyball gave me victories and all the fantastic feelings you get when you win. When you’re on the podium and you hear the anthem of your country: that has always been incredible. And you can’t get it in any other way, apart from sport.”
“I will continue to play at club level. I will take a break with the national team. I don’t know if it will be a permanent leave, or if I will resume after a long pause. Now I can’t answer to this question, but I planned it before leaving for London. It’s all about tiredness: I’ve been playing for many, many years. And all these rounds, the commitments with the national team, then the matches with clubs, cups… I’m tired, I need more rest.”
(source & image: FIVB)
Goodbye after London…
“I’m leaving the national team but I am very proud to have stayed 20 years with this team, these men and with (coach) Bernado Rezende. Everyone said that Brazil was finished even though we only missed the final twice in this last cycle. The Brazilian journalists have to forgive me, but that cannot be said (that Brazil are finished). I think that we were able to shut everyone up. Therefore, I leave this team very sad because of this criticism, but very happy for having been part of this great group of men.”
“I think about continuing in sport and in volleyball, in particular. I’ve always joked with Bernardo but I’ll leave coaching to him. Even though I think I’d be good at it, it’s not for me. I believe that with my experience on the court I can help outside the court, too.”
(source & image: FIVB)
Disclaimer: The player/s listed as to have “retired” from the sport are athletes who have officially declared their retirement from the National Team with valid quoted source/s.