HOLYOKE, Mass. (April 18, 2013) – The Volleyball Hall of Fame announced today the names of three volleyball legends who will be inducted as the Class of 2013 into its hallowed halls on Oct. 18 in Holyoke, Mass., the sport’s birthplace. In addition, the Volleyball Hall of Fame will recognize 14 nations who helped found the International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) with its Court of Honor award.
The 28th induction class consists of beach volleyball player Natalie Cook of Australia, women’s volleyball player Caren Kemner of the United States and men’s volleyball player Vyacheslav Zaytsev of Russia.
The induction class is elected via a vote of current Volleyball Hall of Fame inductees. A total of 20 different countries are represented in the Volleyball Hall of Fame with at least one inductee. All told, 115 individuals will have been inducted into the Volleyball Hall of Fame after this year’s enshrinement ceremony.
“The three individual inductees for the 2013 Volleyball Hall of Fame are remarkable athletes who elevated the sport to new levels for the next generation to strive for,” said Doug Beal, co-chair of the Volleyball Hall of Fame Selection Committee. “This induction class, with diversity of gender, country and discipline, continues to uphold the highest qualities of the game through its athletes, coaches and leaders. Natalie Cook has been a true ambassador for the sport of beach volleyball through her many accomplishments on the court including participation in five Olympics and her work in developing the sport away from the sand. Vyacheslav Zaytsev was a leader of so many great Soviet Union squads for over two decades, setting the team to numerous gold medals and podium finishes. Caren Kemner distinguished herself as a dominating outside hitter who could attack and play defense equally well for so many years with the U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team.”
“The International Selection Committee always does a tremendous job identifying truly deserving individuals for enshrinement in the Volleyball Hall of Fame,” said George Mulry, executive director of the Volleyball Hall of Fame. “As the Hall continues being internationally focused, we are delighted to showcase the talents of this class and help recognize some of the sport’s best players from both genders and disciplines.”
In addition to the three individual inductions, the 14 founding countries of the FIVB will be inducted as part of the Court of Honor celebration. The founding countries are Belgium, Brazil, Czechoslovakia, Egypt, France, Holland, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Romania, United States, Uruguay and Yugoslavia. Through the processes established in the first Constitutive Congress attended by these 14 nations in Paris from April 18-20, 1947, the FIVB was born.
“Volleyball is truly a global sport that gained significant strides from the initial actions taken in Paris in 1947 to establish the FIVB,” Beal said. “While the political climate has changed over the years, including within some of the founding FIVB members, volleyball has endured through time and grown into the largest international sports federation in the world today. The sport owes a debt of gratitude to the 14 founding member countries and the leaders who came together, putting aside differences and creating a lasting legacy through the establishment of the FIVB.”
“I was fortunate to have watched Vyacheslav, Caren and Natalie in each of their Olympic Games appearances, along with witnessing many of their other major career accomplishments,” said Al Monaco, co-chair of the Volleyball Hall of Fame Selection Committee. “All three individuals are well-deserving of this prestigious honor, as is the Court of Honor distinction being placed upon the founding members of the FIVB. Through my leadership positions with USA Volleyball, I was able to build close relationships with the other 13 founding National Federations of FIVB as they planted the seeds for future generations to benefit from the sport of volleyball. Come October, the Volleyball Hall of Fame Induction Dinner will surely be a memorable moment as we continue to memorialize our sport’s legends and history.”
“Without the efforts of the founding members of the FIVB, the rise of the game of volleyball to a truly global sport would not have been possible,” said George Mulry, executive director of the Volleyball Hall of Fame. “The visionaries of these 14 countries laid the foundation for what is now the largest international sporting federation in the world and has influenced the growth and reach of volleyball for 67 years. While we have honored the FIVB in the past with the Court of Honor Award, it is truly fitting that we formally celebrate these founding countries for the impact they have had on the history of volleyball.”
The Volleyball Hall of Fame induction festivities include a Mayor’s reception on Thursday, Oct. 17, at Wistariahurst Museum in Holyoke, followed by the Ring and Plaque Ceremony inside the Volleyball Hall of Fame from noon to 1:30 p.m. ET on Friday, Oct. 18, with the formal Enshrinement Dinner and Ceremony taking place the evening of Oct. 18.
The Volleyball Hall of Fame, incorporated in 1978, continues to create a more representative institution with inductees of both genders and disciplines – indoor volleyball and beach volleyball – coming from a wide range of countries. For additional information on attending the 2013 Volleyball Hall of Fame induction ceremony, contact the Volleyball Hall of Fame at email@example.com or visit the Hall’s website at http://www.VolleyHall.org.
Natalie Cook (Australia) – FEMALE BEACH VOLLEYBALL PLAYER
Natalie Cook is the only athlete, male or female, to have participated in all five Olympic Games beach volleyball events since its introduction at the 1996 Atlanta Games. Along with partner and 2007 Volleyball Hall of Fame inductee Kerri Pottharst, she captured the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games gold medal in beach volleyball after earning the bronze medal at the inaugural 1996 Olympic Games for beach volleyball. Cook and Pottharst were awarded the FIVB’s Beach Team of the Decade for the 1990s. Cook earned the bronze medal at the 2003 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships playing with Nicole Sanderson. The duo went on to finish fourth at the 2004 Olympic Games. Cook partnered with Tamsin Hinchley in the next two Olympics in 2008 and 2012. Cook partnered with three different players to win five Australian Beach National Championships.
Vyacheslav Zaytsev (RUSSIA) – MALE INDOOR PLAYER
Vyacheslav Zaytsev earned three Olympic Games medals from 1976 to 1988 as the setter for the Soviet Union. After aiding the Soviet Union to the silver medal at the 1976 Montreal Olympic Games, Zaytsev reached the top step of the Olympic podium with gold in front of the home crowd at the 1980 Moscow Olympics. After boycotting the 1984 Olympics, the Soviet Union and Zaytsev returned to the podium at the 1988 Olympics with the silver medal, finishing second to the United States who had won the 1984 Olympics. He helped the Soviet Union win the FIVB World Championships in 1978 and 1982, along with silver medals at the 1974 and 1986 editions. Zaytsev earned gold medals at both the 1977 and 1981 FIVB World Cup and was named the most valuable player in the 1981 event. He holds six gold medals from the European Championships. Zaytsev won two CEV Top Teams Cup and two Challenge Cups with Avtomobilist Leningrad before finishing his career playing in Italy for Spoleto, Agrigento and Citta di Castello. Zaytsev’s son, Ivan, earned the 2012 Olympic Games bronze medal while playing for Italy.
Caren Kemner (United States) – FEMALE INDOOR PLAYER
Caren Kemner, an outside hitter, competed in three consecutive Olympic Games starting in 1988 and helped the United States capture the bronze medal at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. She was selected to the “All Spectacular Team” following the 1992 Olympics. Kemner led the United States to its first FIVB World Grand Prix gold medal in 1995. She holds bronze medals from the 1990 FIVB World Championships and the 1986 Goodwill Games. Kemner was honored with the most outstanding player award at the 1991 FIVB World Cup and later selected as the FIVB most valuable player for the 1991 season. Kemner, the 1985 USA Volleyball Female Rookie of the Year, was a six-time recipient of the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) Female Volleyball Athlete of the Year and a five-time winner of the USA team most valuable player award during her 15 years with the National Team. She was selected to USA Volleyball’s 75th Anniversary All-Era Team for the 1978 to 2002 time period.