After being named last month as one of 10 finalists for the Italian Gazzetta Athlete of the Year Awards, Ivan Zaytsev, one of the most visible volleyball players in the world, has been named a top-3 finalist for one of Italy’s most prestigious awards, as has the entire Italian National Team.
In a public online vote, Zaytsev advance to the final 3 in the Male Athlete of the Year category, and Olympic beach silver medalists Daniele Lupo and Paolo Nicolai are finalists in the Team of the Year category.
Zaytsev is currently receiving 61% of the vote, which puts him ahead of gold medal winning distance swimmer Gregorio Paltrinieri (35%) and Giro D’Italia cycling winner Fabio Basile. Zaytsev was the third-leading scorer in men’s volleyball at the Olympic Games with 127 points. He led his team to the gold medal match in Rio before ultimately falling to the home nation Brazil and receiving silver. Zaytsev had 15 kills on 23 attacks in the gold medal came and tied the record for the fastest serve in Olympic history at 127 km/hour. While Zaytsev leads very early in the voting, the swimmer Paltrinieri has been gaining ground throughout the day.
Beach volleyball teammates Daniele Lupo and Paolo Nicolai were named as top 3 finalists as well, in the team category, after their own silver-medal moment in Rio. The pair are currently in a close battle in the vote for second-place with 18% of the vote. The National Rhythmic Gymnastics team, who placed 4th in Rio, have 16% of the vote as of posiblishing, and the men’s National volleyball team, of which Zaytsev is a part, leads the way with a heavy 66% of the vote.