Lausanne, Switzerland, and Luxembourg, February 13, 2018 - Stefanie Schwaiger may have announced her retirement from competitive sport this past October but she will take to the court again on Wednesday, February 14 when joining a number of star players for the snow volleyball exhibition match due to take place at Austria House in PyeongChang on the sidelines of the 2018 Winter Olympic Games.Quick links:Snow Volleyball Night - InformationSnow Volleyball Night - NewsWhat is Snow Volleyball?Snow Volleyball in the news
Stefanie cannot hide her excitement ahead of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity: "The invitation to this event is a real honour, especially since I will share this experience with so many legendary volleyball and beach volleyball players. On top of this, playing right next to Austria House is going to be an experience in its own. I especially look forward to seeing how the Brazilians will be able to perform on snow," she says.Action in Turkey's Erciyes, a stop on this year's European Snow Volleyball Tour.
Schwaiger joins a mix of volleyball and beach volleyball stars for Snow Volleyball Night: Brazil's three-time Olympic medallists Giba and Emanuel Rego, Serbia's Olympic gold medallist Vladimir Grbic, as well as London 2012 Olympics MVP Kim Yeon-Koung of Korea, Beijing 2008 Olympic bronze medallist Xue Chen and her fellow-Austrian and European champion Nikolas Berger.Get all the information for the historic event here:- Snow Volleyball Night at Pyeongchang
A gold medal winner from the 2013 European Championship in Klagenfurt, Schwaiger is a two-time Olympian and claimed fifth place with her sister Doris at both the Beijing and London Olympics in 2008 and 2012. "I have never been to the Winter Olympics before, so I am really looking forward to this experience. Back in 2008 and 2012, I visited Austria House a couple of times but I always had very little time to spend there since my focus was entirely on the tournament and on the next game. I know that this time around I will have more time to enjoy it and I look forward to meeting athletes, officials and to having some interesting chats with the people I will see there."Stefanie Schwaiger in action during her beach volleyball days.
Schwaiger hails from Austria, the birthplace of snow volleyball, so she knows the game pretty well. "I think I played on snow when I was a child and have seen snow volleyball matches before, but I never played myself at any official tournament. This year Austria will be hosting the inaugural European Championship in Wagrain and I am planning to travel there and enjoy the ambiance and the party, something I have never been able to do as a competitive athlete since you are completely focused on the game and on your performance."
Stefanie travels to Korea for the second time since back in 2010 she played an FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour Open in Seoul, where she finished fifth together with her sister. "We stayed there only for the duration of the tournament and we did not have any time to visit the city or do any sightseeing, so in reality I have not seen much of Korea this far. On top of this, I am sure that with the Olympics taking place there, the atmosphere will be truly special. I am also happy to hear that the temperatures are rising, since a few days ago they had gone down to -20 or so."
Schwaiger acknowledges that she does not cultivate any plans of a comeback following her retirement last year. "Unfortunately, I could not find a partner in Austria with whom I could set and achieve high goals. As a competitive athlete, I have always wanted to be successful but you cannot play beach volleyball alone and if I cannot be competitive at the highest level, I do not see why I should continue."
However, would snow volleyball be an option for an eventual comeback? "Well, let me first play this match in PyeongChang and see how it goes. To tell you the truth, I never really thought about snow volleyball as an opportunity for a second career, but we'll see," she concludes with a smile.Stefanie Schwaiger, Xue Chen and Vladimir Grbic ready for Snow Volleyball Night in PyeongChang