One thing they couldn't lift was their coach, Vladimir Alenko, during a celebratory toss of the man— who is being called a genius after he re-arranged the entire roster— after the stunning victory.
As the jubilant Russian team circled the rotund Alenko while celebrating on the court, they lifted him up and gave a heartfelt one-two-three before they must have realized he weighed too much to throw over their heads and, after a feeble attempt, just put him back down.
Led by their coach's spontaneous roster change and seven-foot Dimitriy Muserskiy's spikes, the Russians— who were only three points from a silver medal after trailing 22-19 in the third set and already being down two sets to none— turned it on. They won the third set 29-27 and kept it coming.
In the thrilling turnaround, Brazil collapsed after making the Russians look like schoolboys during the first two sets. With Brazil only three points from the gold medal, Russia started punching the ball past the Brazilians' outstretched arms.
It was Russia's first gold medal in the event since the country was part of the U.S.S.R.. the stunning upset has now made Muserskiy— and his 28 kills— a national hero.
It's going to be hard for the gentle giant to hide from his new Russian fans.