Lausanne, Switzerland, December 24, 2016 - As we reach the end of 2016, it is only right for all of us to look back at our sport’s amazing achievements. Within our FIVB family, the growing strength of volleyball and beach volleyball has been no secret. But this year, more than ever before we were able to show our strength and our progress to the whole world. 2016 was the year where we showed that our ambition to be the number one family sport entertainment in the world is not a dream. We stood shoulder to shoulder with the biggest sports of the Olympic Games and the world saw us even better when it came to atmosphere and entertainment.
Our players showed skill and fitness and character that was as good as for any other sport. They played clean and they played fair. Nobody had more exciting competitions. Nobody made a fan experience that was more fun and nobody left a better legacy for the young people of Rio.
We went into the Olympic Games after a record number of countries competed to qualify. At Copacabana and Maracanazinho, we created the places to be during the Olympic Games. Nearly every possible ticket was sold and those who came were rewarded with an incredible party. And by putting exciting competitions in a party atmosphere we made real fans and not just spectators. The TV companies responded by showing more volleyball and beach volleyball in more homes around the world than ever before.Fans pack the beach volleyball venue at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games
This ambition of being the world's number one family sport entertainment is an ambition that we are making into a reality faster than anyone thought was possible. This is the work of a huge team, a team that goes all around the world.
The Olympic Games are a special showcase, of course, but our own events are just as special for us. At the 2016 FIVB Volleyball World Grand Prix and World League, we proved that innovation can really improve the experience of players, officials, fans and TV viewers. More fans than ever watched the events via the FIVB YouTube channel. The events could also be watched on big screens around the host city as in Bangkok for the World Grand Prix finals. They broke new records too, and not only because Brazil won the FIVB Volleyball World Grand Prix for an 11th time! There were record numbers of teams.
To see a new country, Serbia, win the FIVB Volleyball World League for the first time shows it is possible to make it all the way to the very top if you are ready to work hard. Our FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour calendar featured nearly $9 million in prize money, Grand Slam events, Swatch FIVB Major Series events, men’s and women’s FIVB Open events. But the FIVB must not sit back and rest. We must always be thinking and working about how to do more for our players and our fans. Bangkok, Thailand hosted the 2016 FIVB Volleyball World Grand Prix Finals
The FIVB Volleyball Men’s and Women’s Club World Championships showed how we will continue to pay attention to all the different levels of the sport. And while our development activities were highlighted by the Viva Volei training centres and the family activities in Rio, they have continued all through the year, all throughout the world.
FIVB is now 222 member federations after welcoming Kosovo and South Sudan at our ground-breaking Congress. I was also humbled and proud of the great support of all the NFs as they re-elected me as the FIVB President by acclamation for eight more years.
With hard work and imagination, we have built a great foundation for the future of volleyball and beach volleyball. We can look forward to even bigger achievements four years from now in Tokyo, especially now the plans for the Ariake arena have been confirmed for volleyball. It will take more hard work and more imagination to build on what we have created. From what I have seen this year, I know that together we can succeed.
FIVB President Dr. Ary S. Graça F°