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Meet Erik Shoji: Two-time Olympian and volleyball libero

Two-time Olympian Erik Shoji chatted about his latest endeavors, which include the Volleyball Nations League (VNL).

Erik Shoji
Olympian Erik Shoji. Photo Credit: Volleyball World
Olympian Erik Shoji. Photo Credit: Volleyball World

Two-time Olympian Erik Shoji chatted about his latest endeavors in volleyball, which include the Volleyball Nations League (VNL).

“I am home in Honolulu right now taking a week break and I will be heading back to Team USA soon,” he said.

“Being a two-time Olympian feels really good,” he admitted. “Any time you can achieve something that you have worked for a long time feels good. I love to represent our country and to fight for medals.”

Libero Erik Shoji hails from Hawaii and he is a Stanford alumnus; moreover, he, is a two-time Olympian who earned a bronze medal for Team USA in 2016. Born to University of Hawaii women’s volleyball coach Dave Shoji, volleyball is a family business for the Shojis.

“Volleyball is an exciting sport to watch with a lot of power and a lot of athleticism. We have a lot of dynamic things going on,” he said.

Volleyball Nations League

The Volleyball Nations League (VNL) has announced its athlete line-up for eight countries competing in Anaheim, California. Team USA will feature local Southern California athletes amid 10 Olympians and six newcomers in this prestigious indoor volleyball tournament, which determines global ranking.

“That is coming up this summer, it’s a yearly tournament that we have, and we are excited since we will be playing in our home country and in the city that we train in for a home crowd,” he said.

“It will be an exciting weekend with a lot of great volleyball. Last year, we took the silver medal so we are hoping to build off of that and win the gold this summer,” he added.

Motivations

On his daily motivations, he said, “A lot of different things. You need to find your motivation as a player. We are training so often, but I am motivated by family, friends, and different goals down the line. These remind me why I play and I try to stay mentally there.”

Shoji is drawn to the sport of volleyball due to the “team aspect of it.” “It is tough to win with only one person. There are three touches every time. You have to work and communicate. You need to figure out a way to make it work and that’s pretty special,” he said.

The digital age

On being a volleyball player in the digital age, Shoji said, “Obviously, there is a positive and a negative side to social media. For me, it’s important to remain positive and create some sort of light via my platform and my social media. Keep working, keep moving forward, and keep working.”

Future plans

On his plans for the future, he said, “More volleyball, I am not done yet. I am trying to make the Paris 2024 Olympics, and I will see where the sport takes me.”

Advice for young volleyball players

For young and aspiring volleyball players, he said, “Get in the gym, work, you need to put in the time and the hours to improve your skills. Any team that you can make is important. Kids these days have so much access to volleyball whether it’s online, in person or on YouTube.”

On the title of the current chapter of his life, Shoji remarked, “The Grind.”

If he were to have any superpower, it would be “teleportation,” where he could teleport around the volleyball court.

When asked what track and field event he would do, he revealed that he would run the 200 meters. In swimming, he would do the 50 meter butterfly race, if given the chance to do so. “They are both short and sweet,” he admitted.

Success

On his definition of the word success, Shoji said, “Being a great teammate, having a a great attitude, and a hard work ethic. Just making sure that I am giving everything I can.”

Fans

For his fans, Shoji expressed, “I love the fans, I love interacting with them whether it’s via social media or in-person at the games. I really appreciate them.”

To learn more about American volleyball player Erik Shoji, follow him on Instagram.

Markos Papadatos
Written By

Markos Papadatos is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for Music News. Papadatos is a Greek-American journalist and educator that has authored over 21,000 original articles over the past 18 years. He has interviewed some of the biggest names in music, entertainment, lifestyle, magic, and sports. He is a 16-time "Best of Long Island" winner, where for three consecutive years (2020, 2021, and 2022), he was honored as the "Best Long Island Personality" in Arts & Entertainment, an honor that has gone to Billy Joel six times.

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