Snow Volleyball exhibition match sparks excitement in PyeongChang
PyeongChang, Republic of Korea, February 14, 2018. The Snow Volleyball exhibition match featuring a number of legendary Volleyball and Beach Volleyball players held on Wednesday at Austria House in PyeongChang was a tremendous success, with a number of IOC members in attendance as well, including His Serene Highness Albert II, Prince of Monaco.
Snow Volleyball enjoyed a truly unique stage at Austria House in PyeongChang, where seven legendary Volleyball and Beach Volleyball players delivered an exhibition match to draw attention from sports officials, fans and media alike to this rapidly growing, young, energetic sport. It was an opportunity to showcase Snow Volleyball to members of the Olympic family currently attending the Olympic Winter Games in Korea and to promote the first-ever Snow Volleyball European Championships due to take place from March 23 to 25 in Wagrain-Kleinarl and Flachau, Austria.
FIVB 2nd Executive Vice-President and CEV President Aleksandar Boričić stressed that Snow Volleyball provides an opportunity to play Volleyball 365 days a year. “Snow Volleyball makes our sport accessible all year round and I am delighted that we could showcase this fast growing game here at the Winter Olympics and in a prestigious location such as Austria House.”
Austrian national broadcaster ORF provided live coverage of the exhibition match, with fans from all over the world following the streaming available on social media as elite Volleyball and Beach Volleyball players tested their skills on snow.
His Serene Highness Albert II, Prince of Monaco, himself a multiple winter Olympian in bobsleigh, was among the many illustrious guests in attendance and he unexpectedly decided to take to the court to serve at least once and join the action for one historic rally. “I think Snow Volleyball is a good idea to create more of a following and appeal for Volleyball and despite the chilly weather conditions, everyone is smiling and seems to be having a good time,” he said to ORF.
‘Team Red’ featuring former European Beach Volleyball champions Nikolas Berger and Stefanie Schwaiger of Austria plus 2004 Olympic Beach Volleyball gold medallist Emanuel of Brazil eventually emerged victorious 15-13 at the tiebreak at the end of an entertaining exhibition match. Brazilian Volleyball legend Giba, Serbia’s Vladimir Grbić, Korea’s superstar Kim Yeon-Koung and China’s Xue Chen took turns on the other side of the net.
“Austria is a winter sports nation and we obviously embrace Snow Volleyball as well,” said the President of the Austrian National Olympic Committee, Karl Stoss. “Snow Volleyball helps us pursue our ultimate mission as a sports community, which is to bring people together from all over the world. At the same time, we obviously hope that Austria will achieve good results at the upcoming European Championships in Wagrain-Kleinarl and Flachau as well.”
After celebrating a hard-fought victory, Stefanie Schwaiger was happy with the experience. “It was a tremendous honour for me to be playing along with so many legendary players and to be standing on the same side of the net as Emanuel,” she said. “Snow Volleyball is quite similar to Beach Volleyball, even though today we played 3-a-side and of course you have to wear gloves, soccer shoes and other stuff to keep warm. I definitely will visit the European Championships in Wagrain and enjoy the ambiance and the experience there. This is something I am really looking forward to.”
“It is amazing to play in the snow – I like it very much,” said Brazilian Volleyball legend Giba. “I could play three or four more sets now! It is a really fun game, but I am sad because I lost, but this is all part of the game.”
Information by cev.lu