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04/10/2019 14:30
Tomasz Wojtowicz – One Volleyball legend back in the spotlight he deserves
News from the CEV

Luxembourg, October 4, 2019. Tomasz Wojtowicz is a member of the Polish legendary national team that made history back in the 70s – securing World Championship gold in 1974 and immortal glory through their Olympic triumph at the Montreal Games in 1976. The very first player to perform a ‘pipe’, i.e. a spike from the back row, Wojtowicz was among the five Volleyball legends to attend the final weekend of CEV EuroVolley 2019 Men in Paris.

Still fluent in Italian, since he spent the last years of his competitive career in that country, Wojtowicz was obviously happy to share a couple of days with many friends in Volleyball. “I am very grateful for the opportunity to visit EuroVolley Men and I would like to thank the CEV and President Boričić for the invitation,” he said.

Wojtowicz still enjoys the status a national hero back in Poland, like all other members of that glorious team. “We still come together at least once a year for the friendly tournament named after our former coach Hubert Jerzy Wagner,” he recounts. “He passed away too soon but that tournament remains an opportunity to celebrate our achievements as well as to pay tribute to his memory and legacy.”

Tomasz Wojtowicz portrayed during his competitive years back in the 70s

Wojtowicz was one of the first players from the so-called Eastern bloc to move to Western Europe, and he did so well before the fall of the iron curtain in 1989. He joined Italy’s Edilcuoghi SASSUOLO for the 1983-1984 season, before spending the following two years with one of the Volleyball powerhouses of that time, Santal PARMA. With this team, he claimed the trophy of the 1985 Champions Cup to go with an already impressive resume.

Tomasz and his old friend Dimitar Zlatanov, who was in Paris as well, are legends from another era. There were no social media at the time, and players would spend their free time reading a book, playing cards or writing letters to their families back home.

Volleyball legend Tomasz Wojtowicz congratulating Team Poland on claiming the bronze medal at EuroVolley 2019 Men in Paris

His greatness is undisputed. “Back in 2002, I was the first non-American player to join the Volleyball Hall of Fame established at the birthplace of Volleyball, Holyoke,” Wojtowicz recalls with legitimate pride. “This was another memorable moment, which I cherish along with the World Championship gold and Olympic triumph from 1974 and 1976.”

Last Saturday, he was again in the spotlight as he presented his compatriots and more specifically captain Michal Kubiak with the trophy for the bronze medal winners of EuroVolley 2019 Men. It has been a while since Wojtowicz revolutionised the game with his unconventional ‘pipe’, and decades later, Poland still remain a major force to reckon with.

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