Italy is a proud volleyball nation. And Italians love both nicknames and hyperbole. For example, Lorenzo Bernardi is universally known as ‘Mister Secolo’, literally ‘Mister Century’, in reference to his FIVB ‘Player of the Century’ Award. The league itself is often referred to as ‘the most beautiful league in the world’, which is nicely appropriate given that it may no longer actually be the best or richest. Probably the most common one I have come across is the ‘Generazione di Fenomeni’. The ‘Generazione di Fenomeni is the generation of players that produced three world championships and an Olympic silver and bronze in the 1990’s. It includes players like Paolo Tofoli, Andrea Zorzi, Bernardi, Andrea Gardini, Andrea Giani, Luca Cantagalli and others who played in multiple championships in that period and laid the foundation for Italian volleyball as it currently is.
Brazil last week equalled Italy’s three consecutive World Championships run. Another Generazione di Fenomeni? Brazilian opposite Leandro Vissotto was posed this question after the final. He replied that he didn’t believe in Fenonemi. It’s all about work. “The victories of the past do not guarantee the future for this we work every day to win the next event.”
Where Italy had a Generation of Phenomena, Brazil has a Generation of Workers.