Now that my brain is with me I can see that I wasn’t ready, but when
you talked to me during that time, I thought I was ready,” the Texan-
born athlete added. “I thought ‘why am I not playing, why am I not
going to the Olympics? I can do this. I’m not playing very well, I can’t
see the ball very well, but I can do this’.
My brain was not 100 per cent and it was giving me unrealistic
thoughts. I now see that after two years, I am not 100 per cent. So a
year and four months ago I definitely wasn’t ready for the Olympics.”
Some of the best performances from the 35-year-old have been on
a volleyball court at the Olympics. On her Olympic debut in 2000 she
made a career-best total of 26 digs in the quarterfinal victory over
Korea and then four years later in Athens she won the award for
best digger.
She admits that she was “very, very, very upset” to miss out on
London 2012 and was only able to bring herself to watch the gold
medal match in which Hugh McCutcheon’s side lost 3-1 to Brazil
-
the same result with which Brazil had beaten USA at the Beijing
Games in 2008.
STACY DENISE SYKORA
COUNTRY
USA
YEARS PLAYING
INTERNATIONALLY
14 –
made debut in 1999
POSITION
Libero
HEIGHT
177
cm (5’10)
HOMETOWN
Burleson, Texas
DATE OF BIRTH
24/06/1977
HONOURS
2010
FIVB World Championship Best Libero
2010
FIVB World Grand Prix gold
2008
Olympic Games silver
2007
World Cup bronze
2004
Olympic Games Best Receiver
2003
FIVB World Grand Prix bronze
2003
FIVB World Cup bronze
2002
FIVB World Championship silver
2001
FIVB World Grand Prix Best Digger
2001
FIVB World Champions Cup Best Digger
Stacy Sykora put in some impressive displays to help the USA to silver at
the Beijing 2008 Olympics.
Personally I couldn’t watch the Olympics at all,” Sykora admitted. “I
could not watch volleyball. I cried my eyes out. It was very, very, hard.
My sister called me and said we were in the gold-medal match, so
I watched the gold-medal match. It was the only match I watched.
Any medal at the Olympic Games is a huge achievement. I’m happy
we placed and that we played so well. Did we want a gold medal?
Yes, everyone wants to win a gold medal, but you have 12 teams at
the Olympics and all 12 teams want a gold medal, so it wasn’t like
we wanted something that no-one else wanted. So I’m happy that
we did the best we could.” With London 2012 now retreating in the
rear-view mirror, Sykora is focusing on completing her recovery and
has plans to put volleyball on hold. She has been part of Team USA
since 1999 and as well as her spell in Brazil she has played in Italy,
where she featured for Urbino and Ravenna volleyball clubs.
COVER STORY
STACY SYKORA
6