The very last encounter of the two-week tournament, the golden final between Russia and Brazil, was an incredible story for Maxim Mikhaylov, who was awarded the Best Scorer and Best Spiker honours: “It was very difficult for us during the first two sets, but the main thing was confidence. We didn’t lose our confidence and just got together, took a deep breath and kept on playing. This has been a wonderful experience, even though we have won so many medals in volleyball. But to have our first gold again since 1980 in Moscow…I wasn’t even born yet, that’s how long ago it was. This gold medal is for all of our staff to share and enjoy the moment, it’s been a very long time coming!” Where there’s a winner, there has to be a loser, and the Brazilians couldn’t be less satisfied for such a great match, even if Olympic FIVB Hero Murilo Endres was named MVP of the entire tournament.
In the bronze medal match two more Heroes met: Bulgaria’s Tsvetan Sokolov and Italian Cristian Savani. Italy eventually clinched the medal and their captain was really happy: “Not everyone is able to win an Olympic medal. We have been really good at pulling our teeth from beginning to end. We served well because we knew it’s been really tough, but now we have the bronze. I made a promise to a friend and now I am happy I kept my word!”
From the words of the champions on to the words of the Olympic FIVB Heroes whose journey to the gold was cut short earlier. Bartosz Kurek, for example, said he was “very disappointed to go back home” after the defeat in the quarter-final against Russia. 2008′s Olympic champion Clayton Stanley had this to say after being eliminated by Italy: “We worked four years for this, it’s tough. We weren’t as crisp as we were throughout the pool. We’ve got a lot of work to do, this is a growing experience”. FIVB Hero Facundo Conte took losing out to Brazil more gracefully, saying that “it has been a great experience for us for the future.”
The Olympic Games are over and all our Olympic FIVB Heroes have returned home from London to start a new season with their clubs.
We will of course keep following them all over the world, so stay tuned at FIVBheroes.com to find out the latest news about your favourite Heroes!