On the 24th March episode of the volleyball podcast The Net Live sometime host Reid Priddy contributed a review of the Champions League Final Four (which I wrote about here and here). He focused review on tournament MVP Sergey Tetyukhin. It occurred to me that if volleyball were a proper media sport, and a comparable event had occurred (ie an aging star dominating a tournament), Tetyukhin would have been widely feted with Priddy’s comments being just a few of many. Given that volleyball is not a proper media sport, and a podcast is somehow a transient media form, I decided to report those comments for posterity.
At the age of 39, his record is unparalleled. He has won ten domestic championships (for comparison co-Player of the 20th Century, Lorenzo Bernardi won nine), four Champions League titles (Bernardi won three), four Olympic medals (from five participations) and among many other individual awards, was chosen in 2012 as the Russian Sportsman of the Year. That is, in an Olympic year, he was chosen as the best from all sports.
But in a sense, those things are incidental. Priddy went on to describe him in quite some wonderment as “…one of those players who, win or lose, it doesn’t change his life. That’s what fascinates me about him. As an athlete he doesn’t have his identity or pride or ego wrapped up in the results.” He went on that in addition to being ‘fun to watch’, “… he’s a team player. That’s what I loved most about playing with him. He’s going to go hard and he’s going to try his best and he’s ubercompetitive, crazy athletic but a loss doesn’t change his life. He doesn’t sulk. He doesn’t feel less about himself. I think that’s what separates him.”
Priddy is not alone, his gold medal winning teammate Lloy Ball has also publicly referred to Tetyukhin as one of two greatest players he ever played with and a real clutch performer. Lloy puts it in his own words at the beginning of this clip.
On the occasion of his Russian Sportsman of the Year award, Russian television produced a documentary. I am sure it is a must for all Russian speakers 🙂
Read about the great new Vyacheslav Platonov coaching book here.