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Dmitry Muserskiy: The lighthouse of the volleyball world

 
Dmitry Muserskiy is hoping to take Belogorie Belgorod to a gold medal finish at the FIVB Men's Volleyball Club World Championship
Lausanne, Switzerland, May 6, 2014 – In the run up to FIVB World Championships this year, FIVB.org introduces an international volleyball star each week. In part three of the series, we introduce the Russian “Lighthouse” Dmitry Muserskiy.

When Dmitry Muserskiy soars above the net, a shadow descends on the opposition’s half of the court. The ‘lighthouse’ of the volleyball world is a massive 2.18 metres tall, and the Russian giant can reach a staggering height of 3.75 metres when attacking. Opponents and spectators alike are regularly astounded by Muserskiy’s abilities. Not only does he tower over the court, but he is also incredibly agile for a big man.

This week the ‘lighthouse’ will be parading his skills with European Champions League winner Belogorie Belgorod at the FIVB Men’s Club World Championship in Belo Horizonte, where he has his sights set on adding yet another title to what is already a mighty impressive collection. And Muserskiy is still only 25 years old.

Probably the biggest moment of the Russian’s career so far was the men’s final volleyball match at the 2012 Olympic Games in London. His team was trailing Brazil by two sets when coach Vladimir Alekno reached into his bag of tricks and moved middle blocker Muserskiy to the outside hitter position. From then on, there was simply no stopping the giant. Muserskiy’s incredible 31 points – a record haul in an Olympic final – was ultimately instrumental in Russia winning Olympic gold. The big man scored most of his points by simply driving the ball over the despairing Brazilian blockers.

“I don’t think this is the best match of my career,” he said afterwards. “I can play better and score more points in five sets, but I’ve grown in confidence and that is why I played so well. The team trusted me. We were 2-0 down, it was last chance saloon and the team trusted me and the gamble paid off.”

For Russia it was the first time they won the gold medal since the breakup of the USSR having taken bronze in Beijing and Athens and silver in Sydney. Russia’s President Vladimir Putin honoured Muserskiy after that performance and owing to the difference in their heights had to look up to the nation’s volleyball hero at the presentation ceremony on home soil.

Muserskiy was typically modest about his role in the success. “I couldn’t let the team go down without a fight,” he said “Fifteen years. I have been waiting for this moment for 15 years.” He started playing volleyball at the age of eight in Makeyevka, before playing for a school team in Charkiv and ultimately signing a contract with Belgorod in 2005. It soon became apparent that this was an exceptionally talented player.

In 2009 he won the CEV European Cup with his club making his international debut in the FIVB World League on June 4, 2010 where he was Russia’s top scorer. With Muserskiy, Russia reached the final of the prestigious competition that year.

From then on, Muserskiy became something of a guarantee for titles. In 2011 he won the FIVB World League and World Cup, adding Olympic gold in 2012. Then in 2013 he was on the teams that won the Russian championship, the European Championship title and the FIVB World League where he was named best blocker.

This year, Muserskiy has already won the European Champions League with Belgorod and is looking to lead Russia to its first FIVB World Championship’s title since 1982 (when it was still the Soviet Union) when the FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Championship Poland 2014 takes place from August 30 to September 21.

The signs are good. Vladimir Alekno, who coach Russia to Olympic gold in 2012, described Muserskiy as “untouchable”. For Alekno, Muserskiy is “the best player in the world, never mind Europe. And he is motivated to always win.” Russian volleyball legend Dmitriy Fomin says that “Muserskiy scares all his opponents.” That being said, all who know Muserskiy know him to be a really friendly guy, who enjoys cooking in his free time.

German setter Lukas Kampa knows Muserskiy well, having played alongside him for several months in the 2012/13 season. “He is a pleasant, quiet character. It is great fun playing with him,” said Kampa. And that is only logical. After all the “Lighthouse” usually comes out on top.

See also:

Jovana Brkocevic: All round talent has mum to thank for introduction to volleyball
Georg Grozer: The man with the hammer



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