Micah Christenson, Simone Giannelli, Jenia Grebennikov and Bartosz Kurek will sport the iconic jersey on Sunday as part of the on-going campaign to raise awareness of equality and drive change through volleyball
Four huge volleyball superstars influential both on and off the court will wear the Equal Jersey during the eagerly anticipated climax to this season’s Volleyball Nations League in Bologna.
The USA’s Micah Christenson, Simone Giannelli of Italy, France’s Jenia Grebennikov and Bartosz Kurek of Poland will all wear the newly released jersey, produced as part of Volleyball World and charity partner Let’s Keep The Ball Flying’s commitments to raising awareness of equality and driving positive change through the sport.
As ambassadors, the quartet will play in the jersey during the first set of the gold and bronze medal matches up until the first technical timeout – just as their women counterparts did at the VNL Finals last weekend in Ankara, Turkey.
Also present in Bologna to support the campaign as ambassadors were Brazil’s Bruno Rezende, Nimir Abdel-Aziz of the Netherlands and Japan’s Yuji Nishida.
All eyes on the semifinals
Saturday’s semifinals will determine which players will wear the jersey in the final. Poland take on the USA at 18:00 CEST and hosts Italy face France in at 21:00 CEST. Fans will be able to watch these games live on Volleyball World TV, as well as watching the ambassadors wear the Equal Jersey in Sunday’s bronze and gold medal matches.
The United States’ Christenson was born and raised in Hawaii and the setter believes his upbringing on an island full of cultural diversity has helped him appreciate those around him in terms of equality.
The 29-year-old setter from Honolulu said: “We play with so many different people that come from different backgrounds and upbringings, that you’re able to hear people’s stories and understand who they really are.
“It’s an advantage for myself to be exposed to different cultures and ethnicities and bringing that to the court is important for my sport and for my teammates around me.”
Italy’s Giannelli is also thankful to volleyball for giving him the opportunity to be aware of equality.
The 26-year-old setter said: “Volleyball has showed me how important it is to embrace diversity and inclusion. Through the years I’ve been exposed to different cultures, beliefs and ideas that made me realize how important it is to respect and treat each other equally.”
Grebennikov, France’s libero, said: “I experienced the power of equality at an early age when my family relocated to France. At this time, people showed openness and understanding despite cultural differences. Openness, understanding and acceptance are values that I always bring with me.”
Find out more about the initiative and get your jersey at Equal Jersey at volleyballworld.com.
About Volleyball World
Volleyball World is a new partnership between the FIVB and the CVC Capital Partners aimed at driving growth, innovation, and investment in volleyball around the globe. Its goal is to create an integrated ecosystem connecting all volleyball stakeholders (fans, athletes, corporate partners) together through both digital and live events. Volleyball World is responsible for the commercial operation of key volleyball and beach volleyball international events, including: the World Championships, Volleyball Nations League, Olympic Qualifiers and Beach Pro Tour.
About Let’s Keep The Ball Flying
LKTBF believes in building a world in which everybody, in every country, has an equal opportunity to play volleyball. Through sport, we aim to create extraordinary memories and thrive as human beings.
LKTBF’s purpose is to connect and expand the global volleyball family, harnessing the power of volleyball as a social development driver for those communities that need it the most.
The logo design is a fingerprint connected to a volleyball to reinforce our desire to impact and leave a legacy through sport.