Lausanne, Switzerland, January 10, 2018 – Rio 2016 bronze medallist and USA middle blocker David Smith is looking forward to competing in the inaugural edition of the Volleyball Nations League and at the 2018 FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Championship.Quick links - Volleyball:
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In an interview with USA Volleyball
, Smith shared his thoughts on the big tournaments in 2018 and his hopes of still making an impact with the national team until the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
“I've always looked at my national team career in blocks of quads with the Olympics being the grand finale,” Smith said. “Even if I don't make it all the way to the end of the road this quad, there is no other road and no other group of guys I'd rather be taking this journey with right now.”
For seven seasons with the national team, the middle blocker was known as a strong player off the bench, who would always be ready to substitute for the likes of Ryan Millar, David Lee, Russell Holmes and Max Holt.
Last year, Millar, Lee and Holmes were off the roster and Holt opted not to play in the FIVB Volleyball World League, giving Smith the chance to start consistently for the first time.
The 32-year-old made the most of the opportunity and was named USA Volleyball’s 2017 Male Indoor Player of the Year.
“I had to learn something of a new role for the team,” Smith said. “For most of my career with the national team, my main purpose was to bring a spark or energy when I get put on the court in the middle of a match.
“This summer, I started the majority of the matches so my focus was more about keeping a consistent level of focus and energy through the entire stretch of a match, weekends and tournaments.”
Smith served as captain during the FIVB Volleyball Men’s Grand Champions Cup in Japan. He was one of the two two-time Olympians in the roster, along with Matthew Anderson, that led a relatively young USA squad.
“The biggest highlight for the team was that we were in the fight for a medal up until the last match of every tournament we played in this summer,” Smith said. “With some of the other veterans taking some time off, we had a really young group of guys for the majority of the summer, but we learned a lot and grew through the challenges we faced and we never stopped playing hard.”
USA finished fourth in both the World League the Grand Champions Cup. The team finished the 2017 season with a victory at the NORCECA Championship that guaranteed their slot in the 2018 FIVB World Championship.