No matter how much time passes, these emotions remain forever. And each FIVB Hero can rightly be proud of having inspired a whole new generation of volleyball lovers with their Olympic performances. These fans may or may not become new players, but they will certainly keep supporting the sport.
Turkish FIVB Hero Neslihan Darnel raised the whole world’s attention already in the opening ceremony. As the flag-bearer for the Turkish delegation, she is a shining example of an athlete and mother, just as her fellow FIVB Hero Simona Gioli from Italy.
Lynne Beattie, captain of hosts Team GB, saw how a sport that rarely draws a crowd in the UK filled Earls Court with families and fans for every single match during the Olympics. The average attendance for women’s indoor volleyball was an impressive 12,000 spectators! Lynne and Lydia Oulmou, the Algerian that proudly represented the entire African continent, hope to attract new players to the volleyball courts in their respective countries and the world over.
FIVB Heroes Yimei Wang (China) and Jovana Brakocevic (Serbia) showed the world how determination can make dreams come true. Injuries almost thwarted their plans just before the Games, but they fought their way to London and fulfilled their Olympic destinies to the delight of their many fans.
Ekaterina Gamova (Russia) and Milagros Cabral (Dominican Republic) also experienced very special Olympic Games, as both of them played their very last matches for their countries. Even though they ended up being eliminated in the quarter-finals by the two eventual finalists, they played brilliantly once again and reminded everyone of the valiant efforts they have made for their nations over the years.
Japanese duo Yoshie Takeshita and Saori Kimura were two of the most experienced FIVB Heroes in London, playing their third Olympic Games, and that experience paid off at last as they brought home the first volleyball medal for Japan in 28 years!
But the newcomers made their marks too: Yeon-Koung Kim and Destinee Hooker played in their first Olympics and impressed with stellar performances. Korea’s Kim was honoured as the Best Scorer and MVP of the entire tournament, while American Hooker, Best Spiker in London, proudly wore her country’s silver medal around her neck.
And there’s FIVB Hero superstar Sheilla Castro, gold medalist for the second consecutive time. The Brazilian team had to deal with many ups and downs throughout the year, but when it mattered, they rose to the challenge, upped their game and became Olympic Champions once again.
Congratulations to all our Olympic FIVB Heroes, you all did a great job – because in the end, what matters most is not how many titles or medals you have, but how many people you inspired!
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