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Stoyanovskiy patiently awaits return to the sand

Oleg Stoyanovskiy and his partner Viacheslav Krasilnikov at the 2019 World Championship in Hamburg
Moscow, Russia, May 9, 2020 – After a superb 2019 season, reigning world champion Oleg Stoyanovskiy is forced to stay at home in Russia during the pandemic-triggered lockdown, but takes the situation wisely and positively, and patiently awaits his return to the sand.

“I perceive this whole situation calmly. We just need to wait it out. Even before this self-isolation, I had quite a lot of free time in my daily routine, so it has not changed dramatically. Maybe I began to cook more often,” said the 23-year-old Russian in an interview for, the official website of the Russian Olympic Committee.

In his teenage years, Oleg’s biggest success was the beach volleyball title at the 2014 Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing.

“At that time it was really a great achievement,” he commented. “We got a feel of what the Olympics are like. Yes, not with the same pressure as at the adult Games, but it was a very good experience. Winning is always nice, especially at a once-in-a-lifetime event, taking into account the age restrictions.”

Oleg Stoyanovskiy at the 2014 Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing

In his youth, Stoyanovskiy also won gold at two age-category (U18 and U22) European Championships. His first medal from a key men’s competition came when he was 19, an FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour silver at Kish Island. Two years later, at the Xiamen four-star, he claimed his first gold. After teaming up with Viacheslav Krasilnikov, he claimed two more World Tour titles in 2019 before hitting the big one – top of the podium at the 2019 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championship in Hamburg. At the age of 22, Oleg became the youngest world champion in history. This achievement automatically placed Stoyanovskiy and Krasilnikov among the world’s highest-calibre teams and upped the expectations from them.

“They began to demand more from us, both the fans and the coaching staff. We have also raised the requirements for ourselves and we are trying to meet them,” Stoyanovskiy pointed out. “The attention towards us has increased and I hope our victory helped promote beach volleyball in Russia. This is a great sport that everyone can practice.”

Soon after, the newly crowned world champions followed up with another great success, winning gold at the World Tour Finals in Rome.

“It was a very cool tournament, and not only because we won it. They have excellent infrastructure and organisation. The complex is very beautiful, with elements of classical Italian architecture.”

Despite these achievements, the 2.07m-tall blocker prefers not to think about the Olympic title yet.

“I’d rather not anticipate the future, especially since the Olympic Games is more than a year away. Now we don’t even know when the next tournament will take place,” he said. “Of course, after the victory in Hamburg, we are among the favourites at every tournament, and that adds to the pressure.”

Stoyanovskiy does not dramatise the decision to postpone the Tokyo Games by a year.

“There is nothing I could do to influence this decision, so I take it without unnecessary emotions,” he revealed. “It is what it is. It is sad because we wanted to play in Tokyo this year and we were preparing for this, but there is no disaster. We will simply postpone our plans for next year and we will continue to train and prepare.”

Stoyanovskiy in action at the Foro Italico during the 2019 World Tour Finals

The Russian athlete also commented on the decision to postpone the next World Championship, in Rome, by a year to 2022.

“In this situation, this is the only right decision, in order to separate the two major tournaments and not to hold the World Championships and the Olympic Games in the same year. It is impossible to quickly reach two peaks in your athletic form,” he said. “In addition, in Italy the situation with coronavirus is one of the worst and we need to give them a little more time to revive their country.”

“Of course, I prefer to take these postponements as an opportunity,” Stoyanovskiy also said in an online video chat with Sport-Express. “I try to evaluate the situation positively. I am still young and I am still learning and developing as a player.”

“Winning one of the two most prestigious competitions in beach volleyball was something unreal and I am very glad I got to experience it,” Stoyanovskiy added. “We gained a little more confidence after the victory and take this result as an indicator and a reward for the work we’ve done and an incentive to continue working. Now we are stamped as world champs for the rest of our lives and I hope we use this popularity to promote our sport and get more people involved in it. All you need to practice it is shorts, a t-shirt and some warm weather, plus a ball.”

More bits from Oleg Stoyanovskiy’s video interview:

Dream partner:
I would like to play with Bruno Schmidt, a somewhat obvious choice. He is experienced and he's got a very good technique in passing. It would be interesting. I enjoyed playing with Alexander Brouwer from the Netherlands. We've done it twice at exhibition tournaments and it's very cool.

Favourite indoor players:
Wilfredo Leon, Egor Kliuka and Ricardo Lucarelli.

If Kliuka and Maxim Mikhaylov teamed up on the beach, would they beat everybody:
It wouldn’t work. There is a huge difference between the perfect conditions in the hall, and the sun and wind on the beach. No matter how good you are, it takes time to adjust. But there are exceptions! Sergey Tetyukhin temporarily switched to beach and it immediately turned out very well for him as he is physically very strong.

Most awesome venue:
Probably Gstaad - a tournament at an altitude of 1000 m in the Swiss Alps. Very beautiful - snow a couple of kilometres above you, a mountain river flowing nearby, cows grazing close by - like the cover of a chocolate bar.

Toughest weather he has played in:
It snowed during the Moscow three-star in June 2017! It was cold and uncomfortable to play, but we still took a medal.

Match you need to watch to fall in love with beach volleyball:
There are many, but in terms of unpredictability I can point exactly - the Rio 2016 Olympic quarterfinal between Dalhausser & Lucena and Alison & Bruno.

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