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Volleyball celebrates 40 years at the Olympics
Athens, Greece, August 13, 2004 – When the Volleyball competition at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens officially begins on Saturday, Volleyball will again be celebrated around the world. With 12 men’s and 12 women’s teams facing off in the race for gold all eyes will be on the top teams from Brazil, China, Italy, Serbia and Montenegro, USA and Cuba among others. But for FIVB Executive Vice-President Mr. Yuri Chesnokov he will be tracking one team in particular – the men’s team from his native Russia. More Pic: A photo of the Russian men's team who won the first Volleyball gold medal in Tokyo, 1964
MONTALI (ITA) : "We play as a team"
ATHENS, August 13 – Since coaching the Volleyball team Olympiakos Piraeus to the Greek Championship in 1997, Gianpaolo MONTALI's (ITA) dream in life was to participate in the Athens Olympic Games and win a medal. MONTALI arrives as head coach of the Italian men's Volleyball team, who are the 2003 European champions and silver medallists in the 2003 World Cup, and 2004 World League.
MONTALI believes that the task of leading his team to the podium will be difficult but not impossible. "We do not have a team for the gold medal but of course we will try. We participate in a very difficult group and of course there are other teams more powerful," said MONTALI. "Brazil and Russia for example are the big favorites to win the tournament. We are not. But of course we were not the favorites in the European Championship which we finally won. We have a strong advantage, you see, because we play as a team."
Italy play their first match of the Olympic Volleyball Tournament on Sunday against the USA at 21:30 at the Peace and Friendship Stadium. ONS ai/ir
Pic: Gianpaolo Montali has achieved some good results with Italy
LIMA (BRA) and GIANI (ITA) make fifth Olympic appearance
ATHENS, 13 August – Mauricio LIMA of Brazil and Andrea GIANI of Italy are the only Volleyball players who will make their fifth Olympic appearance at the Athens Olympic Games. Their parallel Olympic careers began at the 1988 Seoul Games and will likely end in Athens. LIMA’s greatest moment was in 1992, when Brazil took the gold medal at the Barcelona Games. GIANI has a silver medal from the 1996 Atlanta Games and a bronze from Sydney.
Brazil and Italy are among the favorites for the gold medal in Athens. ONS sk/jb
Pic: Brazil's Mauricio Lima will be playing in his fifth Olympics

Referees to retire after Athens
ATHENS, 13 August – The Athens Olympic Volleyball Tournament will be the last for referees Jarmo SALONEN of Finland and Ryszard DIETRICH of Poland because both have reached the age limit of 55 imposed by the FIVB.
The Athens Games will be the third Olympic appearance for SALONEN, who refereed seven matches at the 2000 Sydney Games and 11 matches in Atlanta, including the China-Cuba women's final.
DIETRICH has not previously refereed at the Olympic level.
ONS sk/jb
Volleyball: SCHUIL (NED) confident of making quarters
ATHENS, 12 August - Dutch men's Volleyball star Richard SCHUIL believes his team will make the quarterfinals despite being drawn in a very competitive pool.
The 1996 Olympic Games champions meet reigning world champions Brazil, Sydney Olympic Games silver medallists Russia, Sydney bronze medallists Italy, the USA and Australia in Pool B.
"Our main target, as always, is to win every game if this is possible, but of course in such a competition you never know," said SCHUIL, a member of the victorious Dutch team in Atlanta. "We have a very tough pool and we have to try very hard in every single game. But we also have a very good team and it's up to us to win all games."
The Dutch lost 2-1 against reigning Olympic champions Serbia & Montenegro in a practice game at the Peace and Friendship Stadium today. They open their campaign against Russia at the same venue on Sunday, 15 August. ONS ai/imc
Volleyball Men: MILINKOVIC weary on Argentina's chances
ATHENS, 12 August – Argentinean star Marcos MILINKOVIC completed training with the national team today in the Peace & Friendship Stadium. The South Americans reached the semifinals at the 2000 Olympics but this time the star spiker is uncertain of Argentina's chances. "I really do not know if we will make it this time. We had many difficulties over the previous two years when we did not participate in the major events and it was very difficult to find our way again. The first two matches will show what we can do in the competition."
On who the favourites in their group are: "I believe Serbia/Montenegro is the only too powerful team. They are undoubtedly favourites to qualify for the final rounds. Greece, Argentina, Poland and France will fight for the other three places in the quarterfinals." ONS ai/ji
Pic: The incredible sight of inside the Peace and Friendship Stadium where teams are carrying out pre-tournament training

Brazilian men and women aim for podium
ATHENS, 11 August – Brazil is aiming to put both its women's and men's Volleyball teams on the podium, said Erica COIMBRA after practising with the Brazilian women's team for the first time at the Peace and Friendship Stadium today.
"We are here for a medal," she said. "China, the U.S., Russia and Cuba are also very powerful. Brazil is ready and capable of having both men's and women's teams on the podium."
Added head coach Jose GUIMARAES: "We will try to be on the podium, to get a medal whatever colour it will have. I hope to do that together with the men’ s team."
The Brazilian women's team is coming off victory at the 2004 World Grand Prix in Italy last month after beating the hosts in the final, while the men's team won the 2004 World League, also beating Italy in the final.
ONS ai/jb
Pic: The Brazilian men's team carry out training at the Peace and Friendship Stadium
MUREK (POL) hopes for good showing
ATHENS, 12 August – Poland was the first Men’s Volleyball team to practise on Thursday morning at the Peace and Friendship Stadium, venue for the Athens 2004 Olympic Games Volleyball competition. Dawid MUREK, a well-known player to Greek Volleyball fans having played for Panathinaikos, looked forward to the Olympic Games.
"The Athens Olympic Games is a very important event for us," he said. "We qualified through the tournament of Portugal, which was a very tough Volleyball competition.
"We are here to do something good for our country. We are practising very hard for the first match against Serbia and Montenegro and then we will see what will happen.
"Greece is a very strong team, it has changed a lot after adding Antrej KRAVARIK. The Greeks can qualify for the semifinals, but for our team something like that will be very difficult."
The Athens 2004 Olympic Games Volleyball competition begins on Saturday, 14 August at 09:00. Poland play Serbia and Montenegro on Sunday, 15 August at 09:00. ONS ek/ktp/tb
Brazil never absent from the Olympic Tournament
ATHENS, 12 August – Brazil is the only Men’s team that has appeared in all 10 Olympic tournaments since the debut of the sport at the Tokyo Olympic Games in 1964.
The 2004 Olympic Games Tournament will be the 11th time that the Brazilian Men’s Volleyball team will be represented at the Olympic Games.
Brazil's best result came at the Barcelona Games in 1992, when it defeated the Netherlands 3-0 to take the gold medal. ONS sk/ct
Brilliant success for the Mexican heading up the world’s leading sports federation in terms of National Federations and licensed players

Athens, 10 August 2004 – The FIVB leadership, which met recently at the organization’s headquarters in Lausanne, took advantage of the upcoming Olympic Games in Athens to take a close look at the development of Volleyball and Beach Volleyball. More | Spanish | French

Pic: Dr. Rubén Acosta, FIVB President
FIVB President predicts best ever Olympic tournaments
Athens, August 8th 2004 - FIVB President Dr. Ruben Acosta today in Athens predicted the best ever Volleyball and Beach Volleyball Olympic tournaments and congratulated the Athens Organising Committee for the excellent facilities and preparations. These will be the eleventh Olympic Volleyball and third Beach Volleyball tournaments. More Pic: Medal Awards at Sydney 2000
More Olympic Pretournament News
August 10, 2004   Five time Olympian eyes second gold
August 10, 2004   FIVB President Dr. Rubén Acosta says Peace and Friendship Stadium "perfect for spectators"
August 09, 2004   Nikola GRBIC (SCG) desperate to retain Olympic gold
August 09, 2004   Marc SCHALK (FRA) misses the Olympic Games
August 09, 2004   "We want the gold medal" say 2000 champions
August 05, 2004   Coach BEAL (USA) sets goals for Olympic tournament
August 04, 2004   Friendly Win for Greece over USA
June 07, 2004      Drawing of Lots Completed Men's Draw