London 2012

Press release

Poland's legendary mentor feels glorious days of Montreal may come back in London

Andrzej Warych was Poland's assistant coach by the time the team claimed gold at the 1976 Olympics in Montreal

London, Great Britain, August 2, 2012 – The players of Poland’s national team have embarked on a very ambitious quest to follow in the footsteps of the glorious generation that wrote some memorable pages of volleyball history back in the ‘70s, with the absolute climax being the gold medal claimed at the 1976 Olympics in Montreal. As you talk to Andrzej Warych, who was the assistant of legendary Hubert Jerzy Wagner back then, you got the feeling that you have opened a book and by listening to his soft words you start going through the history of the sport in the last four decades. “Everything has changed since that day in Montreal. Just to give you an idea, there was no libero player, the rally point system did not exist, the matches were much longer since you could claim a point exclusively on your serve, there were no antennas and the block was counted as first of the three touches making it very difficult for the setter to prepare the next attack with the right composure and necessary accuracy” says Warych.

“Additionally, the players you see in action nowadays are very specialized: they play almost exclusively in one position while back then in Montreal our guys were supposed to be able to do a little bit of everything. Anyway, every sport naturally goes through a process of continuous evolution and development, and volleyball is not any exception to this rule”.

Warych still feels very emotional if asked to recall those memorable moments from the 1976 Olympics in Montreal. “Well, I still feel like it happened yesterday, that attack sent into the net by our Soviet opponents, and our overwhelming happiness and emotion. I still get goose bumps”. Together with Wagner, Warych was responsible for working out combinations and other drills that literally revolutionized volleyball. “Tomasz Wojtowicz was probably one of the first players who started attacking from the back row, something which has become quite ordinary in these days”.

And what about the guys mentored by Andrea Anastasi who have claimed this year’s FIVB World League and are unanimously considered among the top contenders for the Olympic gold? “We lost to Bulgaria two days ago, quite surprisingly, but this does not compromise our chances in the tournament. This is a very long competition and I am confident we can make it to the top four and be part of the show whereby the medals will be finally assigned” says Warych. The Olympics are certainly very special to him who agrees with all other stars that were so far spotted at Earls Court in stressing out the special atmosphere surrounding the world’s largest sports event. “You can meet athletes of all other disciplines and if you have an idol, like for instance Usain Bolt or any other top star, you can cross his ways with him at the Olympic village, have lunch together, take a picture or get an autograph. This happens only and exclusively at the Olympics”.

Warych has not completely retired from volleyball as every Wednesday he enjoys playing with the staff of the Polish Volleyball Federation (PVF) and the employees of Plus, the main sponsor and partner of the PVF. “If I do not play, I still join the matches as a coach. It makes a lot of fun being part of this family since the sport has meant so much in my life”. Warych had on Thursday another good reason to be happy for since Poland routed Argentina in 3 sets to get back on track and go for a possible remake of the glorious days from Montreal. Will this dream turn into reality? Only time will disclose this secret as the final match is scheduled for August 12, the last day of action at the XXX Summer Olympiad.

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