Home » INTERVIEW: Larson for WoV – “I’ve been blessed to play volleyball as long as I have”

INTERVIEW: Larson for WoV – “I’ve been blessed to play volleyball as long as I have”

by WoV
source: Photo: volleyball.world

If you’re sports connoisseur, in general, and you hear the name Jordan, the first athlete coming to your mind is probably basketball ace Michael Jordan. And it’s OK. But, what about other sports disciplines? What about volleyball? Is it, maybe, that the first player coming to your mind is…

Jordan-Larson

Jordan-Larson

…Jordan Larson!

Sadly, the captain of the U.S. Women’s Volleyball National Team is slowly putting an end to her illustrious professional career in which she won as many as 26 medals (14 with the national team and 12 with clubs). The good news is that Larson delayed her retirement for one year because she wanted to say goodbye to volleyball only after competing in the Tokyo Olympics. Given that the event was rescheduled for 2021, volleyball fans around the world will enjoy her play for a bit longer.

One of the reasons why the 2014 FIVB World Championship winner is about to end her career after the Tokyo Games is the possibility to win the gold medal, which is the only Olympic medal missing in her collection…

Let’s start with the two most important questions at the moment – how are you and are you taking good care of yourself from the coronavirus?

“I am doing well considering the circumstance we are all in at the moment. It is definitively not easy, but I am trying to be grateful for this time. I have spent most of my time recently playing overseas, so this is the first time in a while that I have really felt settled. Grateful for the time and the ability to slow down a bit.”

Are you disappointed with the postponement of the Olympic Games or you think it’s a proper decision?

“I was a little disappointed when the news first came out, but I wasn’t surprised when they finally announced the postponement. I think it’s the right decision for all parties involved. I think some athletes felt if they were to just postpone it for a couple of months, they wouldn’t have the appropriate amount of time to either qualify or prepare for the games. This was the best-case scenario in the current situation.”

The U.S. National Team has started preparations for the Olympic Games among the first teams in the world. To what extend will this postponement due to coronavirus disturb your work and more importantly, how difficult is for an athlete to get back into the rhythm after such a long break?

“It has definitely interrupted our training. All of us are training from home, but we are still trying to find ways to connect via online channels to get a little bit of social interaction. As far as the future goes, we are still unsure of a lot of what is going to happen next. We have an idea of what our training will be like once we do start up again, but a lot of that is still very much in the air. I think it will be a bit challenging to find a rhythm once we do a start-up, but we are not alone in that. I feel like everyone in the world is going to be experiencing that in some capacity.”

Given that the season in China ended early, did you have plans to play the rest of the season in Europe or somewhere outside China before this coronavirus pandemic occurred?

“I didn’t have any plans to play in Europe after. The possibility was there, but I was making the choice to stay home and train. We don’t have an offseason to really put in significant work in the weight room and I was going to use that time between January and April to get in the weight room and make some gains. My body needed it as well as my mind.”

What can you tell us about your experience in China and the quality of the league there? It’s been an entire decade since you haven’t been playing outside Europe prior to this season…

“I had a really great time in China. China has had the best team in the world for close to 7 years now. Although they don’t get the recognition that Europe does, there is great volleyball being played.”

Recently, the news that you delayed your retirement to play the rescheduled Olympics really put a smile on the faces of U.S. volleyball fans but also the fans across the world. Does this mean that you’ll be playing one more club season as well?

“Yes, it does.”

Can you give us a hint about the reasons that led you to decide to end your career? It seems that you’re still in excellent shape…

“Volleyball has given me so much and I have been blessed to play it as long as I have, and I am lucky that I still enjoy it very much. It does make me sad to think about stopping, but I know that this time is the right time for me. I want to see what else I can do, and I also want to give back to the sport that gave me so much. I want to see others succeed and help young girls live out their dreams, just like I have been able to live out mine.”

The gold medal is the only medal that you miss from the Olympic Games. Is it time to finally hang it around your neck?

“Goodness wouldn’t that be amazing! I would love that more than anything. However, I know it’s going to take a crazy amount of hard work and commit to doing that. The US has never won and I think as a team we would all love to change that and write a new history. We are lucky that the postponement allows us to spend more time and work towards that goal.”

 

Check out more interviews.


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