Generation of Workers

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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.


  1. Would the Italians feel they underachieved that the 96, 00 and 04 olympics? They made gold medal games in 96 and 04 and were ranked #1 going into 00.

    It’s good to see that kind of mindset coming from elite athletes. there are probably some collingwood guys still hungover about being the best team in a sport played by half a country in the antipodes. and let’s not even get started on the commonwealth games!


    1. I’ve actually never had the impression that they feel they underachieved in ’96, which was their best team. In ’04, they never had a chance and were really happy with the silver. Perhaps they would be disappointed with 2000. There was a rumour at the time that they thought the draw cost them a chance to win because they had the weakest quarter final (against Australia) and therefore weren’t fully prepared for their semi final, which they lost 3-0. As it was, they had a few injury problems and Yugoslavia were the best team.
      The hidden irony of the story is that Italian eloquence aside, that Italian generation were also workers. When the current Italian team performs worse than expected, the Fenonemi are the ones in the media talking about working hard. They worked their arses off, to become good and to stay good. It is the only way to achieve success.


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