Dmitry Muserskiy: The lighthouse of the volleyball world
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.
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.
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.
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