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The Warsaw Voice » Society » July 30, 2012
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Going for Gold
July 30, 2012   
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The Polish men’s national volleyball team won 14 games and lost just two in this year’s Volleyball World League. They didn’t lose a single set in the semifinal or final. The players are not just the nation’s darlings like the women’s national team was earlier, they are also one of the favorites for Olympic gold.

When Polish coach Hubert Wagner said before leaving for the Olympic Games in Montreal in 1976 that his team was going for gold (which they ultimately won), people accused him of arrogance. Poland’s Italian coach Andrea Anastasi is saying the same today and no one is upset. The players are confident because they have not just hours of grueling practice behind them, they also have results.

They were not thrown off their stride when lighters and bottles started flying at them near the end of the third set of the final World League game in Sofia, in an extremely hostile sports hall filled with thuggish Bulgarian volleyball fans (unheard-of at Polish volleyball venues).

They didn’t celebrate the World League triumph for very long; they didn’t have time to relish their victory, the check for $1 million or their visit to the prime minister. They started preparing for the London Olympics Games almost immediately. They will play their first game against the Italians. But Anastasi is a professional. He will not feel any ambivalence as to which side of the net his team is standing on.
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