Lausanne, Switzerland, May 12, 2015 - She is the girl with the built-in title guarantee. Jordan Quinn Larson-Burbach has now won three World Championship titles in twelve months - a haul of medals that many would spend their entire lives dreaming of. On Sunday, the 28-year-old led Eczacibasi VitrA Istanbul to victory at the FIVB Volleyball Women’s Club World Championship Zurich 2015, scoring 20 points in the final. She was also named the tournament’s MVP.
This success comes almost exactly a year after she won her first Club World Championship title with Dinamo Kazan. Winning successive titles is something only Croatia’s Natasa Osmokrovic had achieved before, in 2010 with Fenerbahce Istanbul and in 2011 with Azerbaijan’s Rabita Baku. Between these two titles, Larson-Burbach has also found time to win the FIVB Volleyball Women's World Championship Italy 2014 with the United States.
“I’m exhausted. You have clubs from all over the world competing and all these girls from different national teams coming together. It’s definitely an awesome tournament to be part of. And winning the MVP is a great end to a perfect year,” she said afterwards, before looking ahead. “I’ve got ten days off, and then it’s back to the national team, looking towards qualifying for the Olympics.”
Larson-Burbach has high hopes for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games - her impressive collection of titles is currently missing a gold medal from the Olympics. It would be the first for the US women’s team, who had to settle for silver in London in 2012.
Olympics aside, the powerful hitter is used to being on top of the world. With Team USA, she has won titles like the FIVB Volleyball World Grand Prix (2010 and 2011). At a club level, she has also won the European Champions League - first with Kazan in 2014, when she also won the best blocker award, and this year with Eczacibasi VitrA Istanbul.
Moving from Kazan to the global metropolis that is Istanbul after five years in Russia was a risk - but it paid off. “That was obviously a big challenge - I had to get used to a new system of play and a new coach. But I wanted a new challenge - and Istanbul is a really great city.”
Larson-Burbach has always been ambitious. When she was 12 years old, her parents asked her what she wanted to do with her life - and they were astonished by their daughter's reply. “I told them that I wanted to be an Olympian. They thought I was crazy. But I proved that you can achieve what you really want.”
Larson-Burbach moved on from her small home village in Nebraska, USA to the big wide world of volleyball, where she is now an internationally-feared hitter. When she was a child, she wasn't sure which sport she wanted to take up and played football, basketball, softball and volleyball - but when her parents pushed her to make a decision, she chose volleyball.
But even then it took her a while to pick the position that she plays in today. "I actually started as a setter, transitioned to middle blocker and then to an outside hitter. Just remembering where I was before is kind of crazy to think about. I have become such a better player and teammate.” Her individual awards at major events show just how versatile she is: the 1.87m woman has already been best server, best receiver and best blocker.
But she is also an ambassador for her country. After Larson-Burbach majored in communication studies at the University of Nebraska with a minor in psychology - graduating in December 2008 - she spent five years in Kazan, playing with Russia’s international star Ekaterina Gamova – and now Istanbul.
“I really enjoy seeing new places and meeting new people, although I sometimes get homesick for the US.”
Married since 2009, Larson-Burbach ofter returns to the US to play with the national team, however, and makes the most of those opportunites to spend time with friends and family in Hooper, Nebraska.