Worldwide Volleyball Corridor induction week: Yumilka Ruiz of Cuba

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It’s induction week on the Worldwide Volleyball Corridor of Fame in Holyoke, Massachusetts. The ceremony is Saturday. Six inductees will be part of the earlier 161 gamers, coaches, directors and leaders from 25 nations who’ve already been enshrined within the museum on the birthplace of volleyball. We’ve tales on all six, persevering with with Yumilka Ruiz of Cuba:

You would argue that the Cuban nationwide girls’s volleyball group within the Nineties and early 2000s was the best dynasty within the sport’s historical past. 

Take into account that the “Caribbean Ladies” (Las Morenas del Caribe) gained Olympic gold medals in three consecutive Video games, which has by no means occurred earlier than or since. They added a bronze in 2004 for good measure and in addition gained World Championships in 1994 and 1998.

A whopping 5 members of these dominant Cuban groups are already within the Worldwide Volleyball Corridor of Fame, together with their coach Eugenio George.

A sixth will likely be added on October 21 when Yumilka Ruiz joins her teammates in volleyball immortality. 

“For my nation, (the Corridor honor) has a terrific which means,” Ruiz stated. “Cuba has six gamers, together with me, and the perfect coach on this planet exalted to this recognition, which is the utmost that an athlete on this planet can aspire to. 

‘I believe there are NO phrases to explain the happiness and pleasure that’s felt.”

Yumilka Ruiz

Ruiz, at simply 5-foot-10 (1.79m), was an outdoor hitter who gained gold within the 1996 Atlanta Video games and once more in 2000 in Sydney. Ruiz was the captain of the 2004 group that gained bronze and her Olympic profession resulted in 2008 when the Cubans completed fourth.

“I had the chance to belong to 2 generations of various gamers,” Ruiz stated. “I performed on the nationwide group from 1993 till 2000 with these athletes who managed to win three Olympic gold medals in a row. 

“It was an exquisite expertise. 

“Then a brand new technology arrived nearly in every single place. In its entirety, I turned captain of that group, by which I needed to all the time be within the lead in all of the preparations to get them to comply with me. Each have been great groups, (however) in a single I had a higher function than within the different.”

These Cuban groups have been characterised by gamers like Ruiz, who may seemingly leap out of the gymnasium, have been extraordinarily fast and will hit the ball as exhausting as could possibly be imagined.

However to concentrate on Ruiz’s accomplishments solely with the Cuban nationwide group could be to shortchange her legacy. 

Ruiz was an impressive membership participant in Cuba, Italy and Russia. She performed for Reggio Calabria in Italy from 1996-2000 and the Russian membership Uralochka-NTMK in 2004-05 and 2012-14. She helped Reggio Calabria end second on the Italian Championships in 1999 and 2000, and in 2000 gained the Italian Cup, the Italian Tremendous Cup, and the CEV Cup. In 2005 she led Uralochka-NTMK to the Russian Tremendous League title.

Ruiz was born in Camaguey, within the inside of the island 45 years in the past. Cuba’s third largest metropolis has an fascinating historical past, in that it was moved to its current inland location 13 years after it was based on the northern coast in 1515. This transfer was attributable to relentless assaults from Caribbean pirates. 

At simply the age of 8, Ruiz picked up a volleyball and was instantly hooked. 

“The one who had the best affect on me was my mom, who beloved to play, plus my household could be very ‘sporty’ so that they inspired us to play sports activities.” 

Ruiz from a younger age exhibited the traits that typified many of the high Cuban gamers of her period, nice leaping capacity, and, as she put it, “pace in actions.”  

Her idols rising up included Josefina Capote, Mercedes Perez, Mercedes Pomares and future teammate and IVHF fellow Corridor of Famer Mireya Luis, as a result of nearly all of them performed outdoors hitter like Ruiz. 

Ruiz was solely 18 when she made the nationwide group that headed to Atlanta and gained the second of these three gold medals. 

“I actually realized that I could possibly be on the degree of any athlete (on this planet) who performed the identical place as I did, after making the common group of the Cuban nationwide group.”

From day one Ruiz was always below stress to fend off fellow hungry “Caribbean Ladies,” to maintain her slot on the nationwide group. 

“My hardest particular person opponents have been all of the gamers that performed the identical place out and in of Cuba,” Ruiz associated. 

Though all the time laser targeted on general group targets, Ruiz was nonetheless acknowledged for her achievements as a terminal participant. She was named Most worthy participant on the 2002 Pan-American Cup, the 2003 NORCECA Championship, and within the 2004/05 Russian Tremendous League. She was named greatest spiker on the 2004 FIVB World Grand Prix and the 2005 Pan American Cup, and greatest scorer on the 2002 World Championships. 

Her enjoying accomplishments have been extraordinary, however the management qualities she exhibited as captain of the nationwide group, little question caught the attention of influential members of the Worldwide Olympic Committee, and in 2008, Ruíz was elected as an athlete member of the IOC, serving from 2008-16. She was additionally named to the IOC Sport and Lively Society Fee. 

“Being a member of the Worldwide Olympic Committee was an exquisite expertise,” Ruiz stated. “It taught me to see sport from one other perspective, and with a special perspective. We athletes aren’t conscious of all of the work that’s being carried out behind us to hold out the Olympic, World, Pan American, and Central American Video games that enable us, in a secure wholesome and respectful surroundings to share, socialize, study cultures, types of life, new athletes and thus creating new friendships.”

The Caribbean Ladies introduced worldwide consideration to Cuba in that golden decade from 1990-2000, and to their credit score they’ve been rewarded by the Corridor for the collective and particular person excellence. 

Yamilka Ruiz has exhibited each, and a contact of sophistication as effectively. 

“I nonetheless can’t consider it, it’s unimaginable for me,” Ruiz exclaimed. “I by no means performed for recognition. I all the time did it to have enjoyable, take pleasure in, and win. It’s an award that many individuals on this planet say, ‘it’s effectively deserved.’ I believe so as a result of I’m representing my different colleagues that collectively we gained every part! I’m pleased. 

“Thank the world for selecting me!”

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Search for extra tales this week on Olympic gold medalist and four-time Olympian Phil Dalhausser (United States, seashore male participant); two-time Olympic medalist and five-time FIVB World Tour Champion Larissa França Maestrini (Brazil, seashore feminine participant); and longtime administrator inside varied nationwide and worldwide federations and the primary member to symbolize Thailand within the IVHF, Shanrit Wongprasert (Thailand, chief).

ICYMI
Sunday:
 Silvano Prandi of Italy
Monday: Katsutoshi Nekoda of Japan

Click on right here for ticket data and for those who gained’t be on the ceremonies they’ll be streamed at IVHF.org

Yumilka Ruiz



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