Once in every Olympic cycle the top teams go through a process of
renewal as the generations change,” Mikhaylov told VolleyWorld.
Each team will have their own problems with the changes, but the
important thing for us, is that no matter who plays for our team,
we win every match.
The players and coach know the World League well and so there
can be no excuses if we don’t win. The important thing is to reach
the Final Six. The key to winning is playing well in the European
Championship. We haven’t won this tournament in 22 years and
the last time we did it was as the USSR.
In all the competitions in which our team takes part, I will try
to do everything possible to get us through to the final and then
think about winning. We have always believed in ourselves, but
the Olympic final showed us that things could have turned out
differently. If we had given away one more point at the end of
the third set we would have missed out on the gold medal and so
we cannot assume that success will automatically follow from now
on.”
The 3-2 win over Brazil in the gold medal match at Earl’s Court
meant that Russia ended their 32-year-wait to win the Olympic gold
medal. The last time they had topped the podium was under the
Soviet Union banner at the Moscow 1980 Olympic Games.
The success of Vladimir Alekno’s team may have surprised some,
but the side continued to develop with Mikhaylov at the helm from
their bronze medal success at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games,
through to winning the 2011 World League and onto gold medal
glory in London.
Now the challenge is to find new, young players who will defend
the gold medal at the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympic Games and win
gold at the 2014 FIVB World Championship. The 24-year-old Dmitry
Muserskiy has already announced his arrival onto the international
volleyball scene. In the Olympic final his was a match-winning
performance in which he set a new gold-medal match record of 31
points. While there may be a change in personnel ahead of the Rio
Olympics, Mikhaylov believes that Russia is blessed with a new line
of talent ready to step up and lead their country to further success.
I would recommend keeping an eye on some of the young
setters,” Mikhaylov said. “I think that one of them, either Dmitry
Kovalev or Igor Kobzar could become good attackers. Look out too
for outside hitter Alexey Rodichev; he is 25, but has played a few
times for the national team.”
In all the competitions in which
our team takes part, I will try to
do everything possible to get us
through to the final and then
think about winning.
FEATURE
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