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12/02/2020 17:30
18 European Referees appointed to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics

Luxembourg, February 12, 2020. It is not just the athletes for whom the Olympics are the most prestigious event in Volleyball. For referees, an Olympic nomination represents a lifetime of dedication to the sport and thousands of hours of honing their craft. 

There will be 9 referees representing Europe in indoor volleyball at the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympic Games, out of a total of 22. They are: Andrei Zenovich (RUS), Juraj Mokry (SVK), Susana Maria Rodriguez Jativa (ESP), Wojciech Maroszek (POL), Daniele Rapisarda (ITA), Fabrice Collados (FRA), Vladimir Simonovic (SRB), Zorica Bjelic (SRB), & Arturo Di Giacomo (BEL). On the beach, 9 out of 19 referees are European. They are José Maria Padron (ESP), Julien Bruxelles (FRA), Charalampos Papadogoulas (GRE), Davide Crescentini (ITA), Agnieszka Myszkowska (POL), Rui Jorge Carvalho (POR), Roman Pristovakin (RUS), Nina Hobi (AUT), & Jonas Personeni (SUI).

Between them they have many matches of Olympic experience, with many of them coaching in Rio, London, and even Beijing for Zenovich & Padron! Because the Olympics is so widely televised, every decision that a referee makes will have an enormous impact and be under a high level of scrutiny. But with experience in the Olympics, EuroVolley, Champions League, and countless other competitions under their belt, these referees are up to the task. 

On the women’s side, the European teams competing are Serbia, Italy, Russia, & Turkey. On the men’s side, they are Italy, Poland, France & Russia. There is also European representation among the coaching staff of non-European countries. So even though the games are taking place in Japan, Europe will still be well represented on the world volleyball stage. 

Here is what veteran referee Juraj Mokry had to say about refereeing in the Olympics:

"Passionate spectators, the best possible performance of the players, amazing volunteers, friendly atmosphere."

And Vladimir Simonovic:

"I have a special feeling of being part of the spectacle. Feel the emotion of the Olympic Games at heart, sports spirit and fantastic audience. These are memories that do not disappear and are always remembered."

If you want some more insight into the day-to-day life of a volleyball referee, check out this video that follows Simonovic & Mokry for a day at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Qualifiers in Apeldoorn: 


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