Women’s volleyball looking forward to bumper year – Sykora
Sykora says the transaition taking place with the US women's team with new coach Karch Kiraly will be less dramatic than any transition "we’ve ever had as a volleyball team”|
Lausanne, Switzerland, April 15, 2013 - With a new and exciting volleyball season approaching, a legend of women's volleyball Stacy Sykora kindly gives us her thoughts on the what we can expect as part of the FIVB blog series.
“The year after an Olympic Games is always hard to predict, but with the expansion of the FIVB World Grand Prix from 16 to 20 teams there is a chance for a host of new faces to make their mark.
“I think competition is always a good, positive thing, so any chance you get to compete with more teams is a good thing. It’s not only better for your team, but it is better for the sport of volleyball.
“I think that every move that volleyball has made – I was playing to the score of 15 back in the day and that’s changed, I was playing when the serve had to be in position one, I played when there was no libero – with all the changes that there have been with my career alone, all the decisions that the sport of volleyball have made, have been good decisions and great for us. The World Grand Prix is improving and all the changes they have made have been positive.
“There are always some teams in the world that will surprise you. Every year there is a team that plays their best in those four years and there are new young players who will surprise because no-one knows them, so they always do well for one season. There are always the strongest teams regardless not matter if they have good or bad or new or old players.
“USA volleyball will always have a strong team and you always have Brazil, Russia, Italy and Cuba. I feel like every team in our NORCECA division is tough, but then you go to Europe and they have Russia and Italy and Croatia, Germany, they have incredible teams too. There are so many great teams. There are 20 teams that I would prepare for expecting the exact same. I would prepare for them exactly the same way I would Brazil.
“I think USA will be as competitive as ever, despite coach Hugh McCutcheon stepping down to take over at the University of Minnesota.
“We have to remember that after every four years, after every Olympics, the US trades their coach. So I have been to three Olympics and trained for four Olympics and in all four of them I had a different coach and a different style, a different everything. Even if he had have stayed, the first year would have been a transition year.
“Now we have coach Karch Kiraly; not only one of the best players in the entire world, but he was with us when we won the silver medal. So we are going to go through transition of course, but we are going through it with someone who was there, who was with us the whole four years and for the silver medal. He’s one of the best in the world so I think that this transition will be less dramatic than any transition we’ve ever had as a volleyball team.”
Stacy Sykora first played for the US national team in 1999 and since then has gone on to became one of the most recognisable faces in international women's volleyball. Having played at three Olympic Games - where she finished fourth (2000), fifth (2004) and second (2008) - and won a FIVB World Championship silver medal in 2002, Stacy missed out on the London Olympics after sufferring a near-fatel bus accident while playing for a Brazilian club in 2011. Whilst continueing to train, Stacy has retired from international volleyball. Check out the latest news on Stacy in VolleyWorld
Other FIVB Blogs
Natalie Cook - Keep an eye on the Chinese in 2013
Hugh McCutcheon - Feeling good about US women’s coach
Martin Laciga - It's time to pass the ball to younger players
Tom Hoff - This is volleyball, and anything can happen