London 2012
Brothers Sasa and Sanja Starovic
Serbia's Nikola Kovacevic ready for the match
Triple block for Serbia with Nikola Kovacevic on the right
Serbia celebrate
Father and son: Mihajlo Mitic is the setter of the team Serbia , his father Miodrag the doctor of women's team
Serbia brothers Nikola Kovacevic (right) and Uros Kovacevic

 

Serbia, living in the family

London, Great Britain, August 4, 2012 - “Living in the family” is the perfect soundtrack for the Serbian volleyball delegation at the Olympic Games in London. Brothers Kovacevic on the men’s court, Sasa Starovic together with them and his sister Sanja in the women’s team here in London. Then you have Mihajlo Mitic in the men’s team and his father Miodrag as doctor of the women’s team, himself a former player of Yugoslavia.

London, Great Britain, August 4, 2012 - “Living in the family” is the perfect soundtrack for the Serbian volleyball delegation at the Olympic Games in London. Brothers Kovacevic on the men’s court, Sasa Starovic together with them and his sister Sanja in the women’s team here in London. Then you have Mihajlo Mitic in the men’s team and his father Miodrag as doctor of the women’s team, himself a former player of Yugoslavia.

It all started with the Grbic brothers in the 90ies: the wing spiker Vladimir and his younger brother, the setter Nikola. They are son of Milo, universal player of team Yugoslavia. They followed in his footsteps to reach their career peak, the 2000 Olympic gold medal in Sydney. Nikola tried twice to give the last Olympic match ball to his beloved brother in Sydney against Russia, match which was eventually closed by a back-row attach of Ivan Miljkovic. Milo Grbic taught all his volleyball secrets to his guys. Nikola’s playing role was chosen from the very beginning even if he wanted to pass and spike like his brother Vladimir and his dad. He even tried to ask her mother to support him, but the decision was taken. Vladimir is nowadays vice president of Serbian Volleyball Federation and a FIVB commission member, while Nikola is still playing in Serie A Italy being one of the finest setters.

Sanja Starovic was the volleyball expert of the family when younger brother Sasa started to play. Now they are both in London, representing Serbia. Sasa was really hoping until the very last moment to get his ID pass for Earls Court: as a matter of fact he is back from a long stop. He had a serious knee injury while playing the first match of his club season in Italy after being the best attacker of the previous season, and never played any other match before joining his national team.

A common postal address at the Olympic Games is even reserved to Nikola and Uros Kovacevic. "Everything Uros knows about volleyball up till now I taught him," Nikola said recently. The Kovacevic family marked a trademark on volleyball in Serbia. Apart from Nikola and Uros, there’s another brother, Savo, who is a referee for the national championship. Their father Zoran, together with his brother Milorad and Ljuobomir, played for club OK Ribnica Kraljevo and took the cup title in Yugoslavia in 1978. Ljubomir is a former player and now international referee while Milorad is currently a delegate in Serbia.

Then if you would like to find the Mitic family, they’re well represented in the Serbian headquarters at the Olympic village. While Mihajlo Mitic is the setter of the team, his father Miodrag takes advantage of his medicine degree to help the women’s team in London as official team doctor. He was a setter as well and got the bronze medal in 1979 at the European Championship in Paris.

Miodrag Mitic was a teammate of Ljubo Travica, one of the strongest spikers at that time for Yugoslavia. Pointless to add, another cross reference with the Italian team here in London is easy: Dragan Travica, starting setter of the “Azzurri”, is his son. But this is supposed to be another team and a different story.

The happy end comes with the young opposite hitter of the team, Aleksandar Atanasijevic. He’s got no parenthood in the team, but everyone call him “Bata”. It means “little brother”.

 

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Everything Uros knows about volleyball up till now I taught him
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Additional information

Serbia had the last chance to qualify for London 2012 at the FIVB World Olympic Qualification in Japan. They won the tournament and got the last ticket for Earls Court together with the runner up Australia, which was qualified as well representing Asia