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Jordan Larson: "Fight to be the best"

A key player for club and country, Jordan Larson is focused on living in the present
Colorado Springs, USA, November 15, 2017 – Jordan Larson has been a fixture with the USA women’s national team since joining it in 2009.

Larson was a key player for the USA team that won an Olympic silver medal at London 2012 and bronze at Rio 2016. She also helped her team to an FIVB Volleyball Women’s World Championship title in 2014 and to three gold medals in the FIVB Volleyball World Grand Prix. She was also instrumental in Turkish club Eczacibasi Istanbul's FIVB Volleyball Women's Club World Championship three-peat.

In an interview with USA Volleyball, Larson spoke about her experiences in Turkey and with the national team.

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You are in your fourth year with Eczacibasi in the Turkish League. Aside from the quality of play, what are the factors you like about playing for Eczacibasi?

Larson: The people and the organisation. I have been very lucky to play next to some of the best athletes who are even better people. Overall, they do a great job of being very organised and a professional club. It allows us as athletes to just focus on our job instead of some possible external distractions.

What are some skills that you are working on while away from the national team and in Turkey?

Larson: I am always striving to be the best I can be in every skill of the game. I strive to keep an open mind for new opportunities to learn. One thing recently is that I’m trying to become more available attacking in all zones of the court.

What are some things you like to do in Turkey while not playing volleyball?

Larson: I am a home body in general, so for me just being organised at home, meal prepping, relaxing is my go-to. However, I am thankful they have movies in English here and a lot of great restaurants to try. Istanbul is an amazing city and I feel very lucky to live here.

What was it like to have an early start with the national team, including participation in the 2003 FIVB Volleyball Girls’ U18 World Championship?

Larson: I remember being so scared for that try-out. I just wanted so badly to wear the USA uniform. I was going to do whatever it took to make that team.

Coming from a small town in Nebraska, did you ever expect that you could be playing on the biggest volleyball stages?

Larson: I never expected I would be where I am today. I dreamed about it a lot, but never expected I would be here. I was very fortunate to have very supportive family around me that helped me get where I am. I am forever grateful.

What does this teach other young players who may not have the same advantages of kids from larger towns?

Larson: I think this teaches young players from smaller towns that anything is possible if you put your heart and mind to something. However, I was travelling to a bigger city to play for a club, but being in a small town allowed me to have balance. I could play other sports, which in turn allowed me to mentally and physically get a break. I think that helped me strive even more to be the best I could be.

What is the most fascinating place you have gone to because of volleyball and why?

Larson: One of my favourite places to travel to is Japan. The country is so clean and the people are always so kind. Every tournament is so organised as well.

What are the best lessons volleyball has taught you off the court?

Larson: I think the biggest lesson it has taught me is how to be a part of a team. I have been a part of a lot of great teams with many talented players, but the ones that stand out the most are the ones who had to fight and grind to be the best. I think in life things don’t just come to you by chance, you must fight and grind your way to the top.

What was it like to take a few months off from major competitions this summer and focus on other things in your life before returning to the USA team?

Larson: It was nice to take a few months off to relax the mind and spend time with friends and family. The down side of our job is that we are often away from our family and friends many months out of the year, so it was nice to get caught up on some lost time.

You and Foluke Akinradewo are the veterans of the USA women’s national team having participated in two Olympic Games, is a third Olympic Games among your long-term goals?

Larson: As I get older the more and more I try to focus on living in the present. I am going to take a day at a time and be the best I can be both physically and mentally. If that allows me to participate in a third Olympics, then I would be extremely happy. I want to be the best in those areas, so I can be the best for my team-mates.

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