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Russia wins gold medal of men's volleyball in 32 years at London Olympics

08-13-2012 00:46 BJT Special Report:2012 London Olympic Games |

LONDON, Aug. 12 (Xinhua) -- The Russian men's volleyball team won their first ever Olympic gold medal since 1980 by coming from behind to beat Brazil in a five-set thriller at the London Games here on Sunday.

The Russians captured the long-awaited gold medal with the 19-25, 20-25, 29-27, 25-22, 15-9 final victory. Brazil, the top-ranked team, had to settle for the silver. Russian star Dmitriy Muserskiy once again scored the most for his side with 31 points, as Brazilian Wallace de Souza offered a team high 27 points.

Earlier, Italy won the bronze medal in the day with a four-set victory over Bulgaria.

The former Soviet Union picked up three Olympic titles in 1964, 1968 and 1980. Brazil stood on top of the podium in 1992 and 2004. They lost to the United States in the final of Beijing Games in 2008.

Vladimir Alekmo, Russia's head coach yelled to the team, raising his arms high after Muserskiy scored the last point. And later he was received by team embrace and tossed in the air by his joyful players.

After a disappointing third finish at the 2008 Beijing Games, the coach said, "It's 'idiot's dream' coming true (referring to 'Twelve Chairs', a novel by Russian Ilya Ilf and Yevgeniy Petrov). They say you can't enter the same river for the second time, but I tried it."

Muserskiy, 2.18 meters in height, is no doubt the "highest" hero of the nation. The screaming of his name is deafening as the 23-year-old middle blocker waved to the stands.

"I'm ecstatic. I don't think this was the best game of my career. I can play better and score more points in five sets, but the team put their trust in me. It was a last chance saloon and we won," he said.

Sergey Tetyukhin, a five-time Olympian couldn't hold his tears in the mix zone.

"It's hard for me to speak. Emotions are overwhelming me. It was a hard match. I think that those people that did not believe in us, they turned their back and went away after the second set, but those who trusted, they are the most valuable. I think we have shown our character," he said.

Earls Court venue was filled up to full capacity for this final act, with the Brazilian fans easy to recognize via their yellow and green outfits, but quite many Russian flags were being waved every time the heirs of the Soviet school scored a point. However, the overwhelming cheers haven't work out as the Brazilians' gold dream woke up a few steps away from the top of the podium, again.

Head coach Bernardo Rezende swallowed the bitterness of second consecutive loss in the final, consoling his players one by one at the court side, when his son, the team setter Bruno, came up and rested his head over the man's shoulder, murmuring.

"The first three sets were good. We could have won the match but the fourth set went away. We didn't manage to follow the rhythm, it could have been different. We've lacked tranquillity, now we have to think about 2016 (the next Olympic Games in Rio)," said Bernardo.

"Right now I'm just sorry because we were so close to victory, we were very close. We go home with the flavour in our mouths but I am also so proud of the team, we can just look to Rio," he said.

Brazil dominated the opener with powerful serves and fast attack by wing spiker Murilo Endres and opposite hitter Wallace, thanks to tricky passes by setter Bruno. The Russians could barely organize effective counterattacks for their poor reception, surrendering the set 25-19.

Russia fought back strongly in the second set, but Brazil edged to lead 5-4 and extended the margin to 11-6 with a 6-2 run. The two sides traded blows, but Brazil managed to control the court with better blocking. They won the set 25-20.

The third set saw the teams tie 9-all and Brazil led narrowly into the second technical timeout 16-15. Brazil launched an impressive 5-3 run to lead 21-18, when top scorer Muserskiy and Tetyukhin staged a brilliant wave of attacks to the Brazilian court to level up to 22-22.

The two sides exchanged lead and each wasted two set points to tie 27-all, when Musersky's kill and Alexander Sokolove's block pulled one set back 29-27.

The teams fought even harder in the fourth set, but it's Russia to control the rhythm of game with better reception and more effective spikes. Brazil sent on its legendary player Gilberto Godoy Filho, or better known "Giba", but he failed to change the situation as the determined Russia fully exhibited their height over net. With a serve-out from Endres, Russia won the set 25-22.

It's Muserskiy's decisive spikes in the decider to help Russia lead 7-4, when Maxim Mikhaylov joined in him to push the lead to 14-7. Brazil saved two match points, with one controversial spike-out by Muserskiy. The players regrouped on court and Muserskiy didn't let the fans down this time. He send the restlessness of the Earls Court venue to the peak with a kill -- Russia won the match 15-9.

Editor:Wang Chuhan |Source: Xinhua

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