London 2012
The rest of his family are also volleyball players and will no doubt be cheering on Facundo and the rest of Argentina throughout the Games
Facundo says that his father "was a very good volleyball teacher" growing up
Both father and son are in London, although for Hugo his role is strictly one on the sidelines
He is keen to make his own mark on the game after following in father Hugo's footsteps
The 22-year-old forms part of a youthful Argentina side that has steadily improved in the last 18 months
Facundo Conte is competing at his first Olympic Games in London and the youngster has come on leaps and bounds in recent years

 

There’s no can’t, won’t or impossible for Facundo Conte

London, July 30, 2012 - His motto is a tattoo on his right arm: "There's no can't, won't or impossible. "Facundo Conte, 22-year-old wing spiker of the Argentinian team, apart from being an FIVB hero, is one of the most talented players here in London. He shows proudly the non-fading letters under his skin: “This is for the Olympic Games, too. It’s my will. We dream of a medal and we hope to get it.”

Facundo Conte, 22-year-old wing spiker of the Argentinian team, apart from being an FIVB hero, is one of the most talented players here in London. He shows proudly the non-fading letters under his skin: “This is for the Olympic Games, too. It’s my will. We dream of a medal and we hope to get it.”

The history of “no can’t or won’t” started when he was 20-day-old: he left Buenos Aires on his mother arms and took his first intercontinental flight to reach father Hugo in Italy, where he was a star of the domestic Serie A. All the family then moved to follow Hugo’s career, from Sicily to Modena, Cuneo and Milan. Facundo’s DNA was composed by volleyball and, even if his father never forced him to play, net and ball were his toys since he was a baby.

“When we were children, we had a net in the garden which at the very beginning was simply a string. And we asked our father to teach us his skills, the same ones I still use today: tips, block out, everything. He was a good volleyball teacher.” That’s why every member of the family plays or knows how to dig and set. Mother and father played for the Argentinean team, sisters Camila and Manuela play volleyball as well. As a son of a famous player, Facundo had his troubles when he was a junior player. Too much pressure: he was a star’s son, a condition which is not easy to handle when you are a teenager. That’s probably why – when he plays at clubs level - he always ask a shirt “Brazilian style”, with his name, not his family name on the back of it. Something that sounds like “I’m Facundo, not only Conte’s son.” A modern hero who is son of his own hero. Talking with Gazzetta dello Sport about the years of his childhood on the courtside, he used a fanciful Italian expression “Mi sono riempito gli occhi di lui”. Literally, I filled my eyes with him. Something more than the word “admiration”. The Olympic rings seemed far, at that time. Hugo was 11 when he woke up early in the morning to see his father playing in Sydney. Then Hugo was too old and Facundo was too young to participate in Beijing (where Argentina did not qualify). Eventually London is the city and the right edition of the Olympic Games for the new generation: Facundo plays, Hugo watches from the tribunes with all the family gathered for the event.

However, a tough father. Facundo did not participate in a FIVB Junior World Championship because of the school: after too many missed days because of volleyball, his parents were inflexible: the whole year of studies could be jeopardized. School first, volleyball follows.

His story is quite similar to some of his teammates, since the team has several athletes (e.g. Quiroga, Castellani, Uriarte…) who followed in their fathers’ footsteps. “It’s good to be together because we know each other since we were children, we’re best friends so it’s fantastic to play in the same team today.” So the volunteers in Earls Court should not be surprised when they hear dance songs coming off a locker room: that’s “reggaetón”, a music that Facundo and his friend use to charge their spirit before each match.

Despite his young age, Facundo is used to be under the spotlights. Even when he played in the A2 Series in Argentina, he had TV watching every step he made. “It all happened in 2007, when me and my father realized our dream to play together. He quit A1 to join the team Metropolitana Geda and planned with TyC Sport a TV reality about the team. We had cameras following us everywhere, they even gave one to a player to be sure to be exactly inside the team ordinary life. Lots of people saw that in Argentina, it was a success and not only a huge satisfaction for our family.”

Then father and son’s ways split. It was time to build up the new team, which started to develop in 2009, when Argentina played the World League with a mixed team. “I was with my mates in a roster with several older players, like Meana or Spajic. Then we played the 2010 World League without them. Every opponent kicked our backs: we finished with a 0-14 record. Nobody at home believed in our strength when we started the World Championship in Italy, but we did t. Maybe 9th place does not mean much for you, but we played great volleyball. And we’re here, after two years.”

Facundo, who will play next winter in Russia - in Dinamo Krasnodar Club, joined by his Czech girlfriend Helena Havelkova who will spike for the same club – reveals that at the very end there is something his father has never done: being an FIVB hero. “Yes, I’m an hero now! We made the first shooting for the FIVB campaign two years ago. That’s why in the official pictures I’m still without the beard and look pretty young. It’s fantastic to find my photos in the venues together with the other boys and girls. It’s nice to be a hero.”

 

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My motto? There´s no can´t, won´t or impossible
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Additional information

A number of players from Argentina have family members who were members of former national teams. Rodrigo Quiroga's uncle is Raul, one of the best spikers at that time. Nicolas Uriarte's father is Jon, Australia's coach in London. Ivan Castellani's father, Daniel, played and then coached Argentina (and after that, Poland and Finland)