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English referee Thompson reaches 750-game milestone

Greg Thompson's highlight was at the London Olympics
 Lausanne, Switzerland, June 7, 2016 – Indoor and beach volleyball referee, Greg Thompson has a long list of accolades when it comes to officiating volleyball at the highest level, from taking charge of the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour Final in 2009 to umpiring matches at the 2012 London Olympic Games.

Thompson is no stranger to both the beach and the hall and recently reached a 750-game milestone in his refereeing career. He looked back on this career in a recent interview.


When did you start refereeing?
I started refereeing after passing my Grade 4 Volleyball Referee's Course in 1998. I refereed through the NVL grades, reaching Grade 1 in 2008. However, by that time I had also attended and passed my International Referee's Course for beach volleyball as preparation for London 2012. From that point, I'd pretty much decided to concentrate on refereeing beach volleyball as the demands on my time became greater.
What has been your career highlight?
There have been many highlights, but without doubt, the top memory has to be refereeing my very first match as first referee at the London 2012 Olympic Games, since it had taken so long and so much effort to reach that point. For all the matches I refereed at London 2012, I didn't have to worry about all the normal distractions that come with refereeing at a high level event and just concentrated on refereeing the game in front of me to the best of my ability. 

Did you ever think you’d get to 750 games?
I never really thought about it at the beginning. But given I typically referee between 24 and 28 matches at a weeklong beach volleyball event, it's easy with hindsight to see that it wasn't going to be long before I chalked up this sort of milestone in my career.

What would you say to someone thinking of getting into refereeing?
It's a very satisfying and worthwhile activity, or I wouldn't continue to still do it, but having said that, it doesn't suit everyone. You need to have a thirst for knowledge, a willingness to learn and to accept honest feedback, but most of all you need to have the courage to get on the stand and experience it. Others will support you, as they have for me, if you're willing to become a referee at whatever level suits you.

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