London 2012

Press release

Mikhaylov masterfully aids comeback win for men’s gold

Russia amazing comeback from two sets down to defeat Brazil 3-2 was the first time Russia has beaten Brazil in five sets at the Olympic Games

London, Great Britain, August 12, 2012 – Brazil may have started at warp speed, but Russia came back even stronger from a 0-2 set deficit to win the last three sets for a 3-2 victory to capture the men’s volleyball gold medal Sunday morning before 14,500 fans at Earls Court on the final day of the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Russia, who went 7-1 in these Olympic Games with their only loss a 0-3 setback to Brazil in pool play, has earned 10 men’s volleyball Olympic medals and have earned a medal every year except Barcelona 1992 when they finished seventh and Atlanta 1996 when they finished fourth. Russia’s opposite spiker Maxim Mikhaylov finished with 17 points, giving him 148 total points, most in these Olympic Games. Mikhaylov also launched the fastest serve of the Mikasa ball for Russia when he fired one off at 121 km/h. Russia’s Dmitriy Muserskiy led all scorers in the match with 31 points, a record for an Olympic gold medal match record.

In continuous jubilation, Russia’s coach Vladimir Alekno shared after the match, “It’s an ‘idiot’s dream coming true (referring to ‘Twelve Chairs’, a Russian novel). They say you can’t enter the same river for the second time. But we did try it and we won this time. And it was the right time to win.”

Following the tough loss in the gold medal match, Brazil’s coach Bernardo Rezende said, “Right now I’m just sorry because we were so close to victory, we were very close. We go home with the flavor in our mouths but I am also so proud of the team, we can just look to Rio 2016. I want to say thank you to London, because we have had a great experience here in London. I feel sorry and frustrated. I tried to change the positions but it didn’t work. We wanted so much to win, we were so close, but we didn’t manage it.  The first three sets were good. We could have won the match but the fourth set went away. We didn’t manage to follow the rhythm it could have easily been different. We lacked tranquility, now we have to think about every one coming to our house in Rio 2016.”

Russia’s Sergey Tetyukhin said following their stunning victory, “It’s hard for me to speak. Emotions are overwhelming me. It was a hard match. I think that those people that did not believe in us, they turned their back and went away after the second set, but those who trusted, they are the most valuable. I think we have shown our courageous character.”

Russia’s Maxim Mikhaylov spoke in the mixed zone following the awarding ceremony, saying “It was very difficult for us during the first two sets, we just seemed lost on the court which is not like us. The first set was difficult psychologically – it wasn’t happening. We had to get ourselves together and sort it out. The main thing was confidence. From the first two sets, we were hanging our heads in shame. We didn’t lose our confidence and just got together, took a depth breath and to us it was the first set. Coach Alekno changed the game completely by moving Dmitriy Muserskiy to the hitter position and we just started to play better. Yes I got a lot of points in this tournament, but about winning the set and the match.  The fact I scored lots of points is irrelevant. Lot of players can score, but not every team can win.”

Speaking about winning another gold medal for Russia, Mikhaylov said, “This is a wonderful experience to finally, even though we have won so many medals in volleyball to have our first gold again since 1980 in Moscow. I wasn’t even born yet that’s how long ago it was.  But for our family, including physios and everyone else, and for our country, this gold medal is for all of us to share and enjoy the moment. It’s been a very long time coming.”

Brazil’s Bruno Rezende said afterwards, “Now we have to learn to live with these consequences. We had the chance but now we have to show up and take the chances. The match doesn’t have an explanation after winning the first two sets and losing the next three. With all the problems we’ve overcome, it’s okay to win a silver medal. We’re obviously angry and very disappointed, especially starting out so good and then losing it.”

Brazil’s Sergio Santos said after the match, “It’s unexplainable. We knew it was going to be difficult, we can’t believe it. Losing is part of it but the way we did is even harder to accept. We are going to have Olympic heroes in Rio (de Janeiro, Brazil).”

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