John Ryan

John first started playing Team Handball as a Sophomore at the U.S Air Force Academy in 1984. He played the sport for two years in intramurals and then on the Academy’s Club team as a Senior. After graduating from the Academy John joined the Condors club team, which was then based in Ventura County, California. From 1992-93, he was member of the US National Team and participated in the World Championships in Sweden in 1993. (John played the 3 position defensively, principally to keep Darrick Heath fresh on offense). In 2000, he helped start a local club team, the DC Diplomats in Washington DC. From 2002-2007, John lived in Paris, France where he played recreationally with a Departmental level club (Levallois). From 2007-2013 he lived in Las Vegas and helped start another local club, the Las Vegas Scorpions.  Formerly an Aerospace Engineer and Project Manager, he currently resides in Colorado Springs, Colorado.  He can be contacted at

Linked In Profile:  Link
Journalist Portfolio: Link
Personal eflection on why I’ve mostly been on the outside looking in: Link

Clubs (player):
Air Force Academy (1986-87)
Condors (87-91) Active member while stationed California
Condors (91-04) Tournament player mostly at National Championships
DC Diplomats (00-02)
Levallois, France (02-03) Department level Club Team

Major Competitions
US Olympic Festivals (89, 90, 94)
1993 World Championships
1997 Military World Championships (CISM)

Clubs (coach)
Air Force Academy (91-94)
DC Diplomats (00-02)

European Handball Managers Course, German Sports University, Cologne (2018-19):  Graduate with Distinction

Sweden picture 2.jpg

March 11, 1993: The high water mark in a short and unremarkable career. (John is #17 and in the foreground is Magnus Wislander, AKA the handball player of the 20th Century. Team USA was blitzed 32-16 by host Sweden in Gothenburg during pool play at the 1993 World Championships. But the first half was a respectable 13-9 and John takes some of the credit for the 1=Underkänd ranking for Staffan Olsson as he was matched up defensively against him most of the evening.

Christer Ahl

Christer has been involved with Handball as a player, coach, referee and an administrator for over 50 years; first in his native Sweden and then in the United States since 1974. Christer currently lives in the Washington, DC area.

Handball Biography:
Player (and assistant coach) on school and university teams in Sweden 1957-1969
Referee since 1959
International referee 1979-1992; (over 60 international matches);
Referee administrator and instructor, Göteborg region, Sweden 1972-1974
Referee Chief in USA 1974-1996
Referee Chief in PanAmerica 1980-2004
IHF Rules&Referees Commission (IHF/PRC): Lecturer 1977-1992
Associate member of IHF/PRC for Panamerica 1984-1992
IHF/PRC member for Panamerica 1992-2004
IHF/PRC President 2004-2009


Altay Atli

Clubs : ENKA (Turkey), Sirkeci (Turkey), Istanbulspor (Turkey), Bogazici University (Turkey), Monash Vikings (Australia).

Altay started playing handball when in junior high school. Born in Germany, he grew up in Turkey, and played for a number of Turkish clubs in various leagues. After graduating from the university he moved for his graduate studies to Australia, where he played for a club in the Victorian state competition, and followed the handball games in 2000 Sydney Olympics as a guest of the IHF secretariat.

Between 1997 and 2000, Altay served as the administrative manager of the Turkish Women’s National Handball Team; he was a member of the Event Organization Committee and the Technical Committee of the Turkish Handball Federation. In these capacities, he took part in a number of IHF and EHF events.

Altay was a handball writer for the Turkish daily Yeni Yuzyil and he wrote articles for the World Handball Magazine, the official publication of the IHF. Currently, in addition to his contribution to, he is writing for the Turkish monthly handball journal Hentbol Magazin.

Altay was a goalkeeper, and he is still playing on a recreational basis. Growing up watching legends like Andreas Thiel and Andrey Lavrov, he always believed that goalkeeping has a unique philosophy of its own.

He lives in Istanbul, teaching international political economy at a university, and can be reached at

Björn Brembs

clubs: TG 1848 Würzburg (Germany), Sävar IK (Sweden), Condors (USA), SG TMBW Berlin (Germany), VfL Lichtenrade (Germany), BSV Luckau (Germany), PSV Berlin (Germany), Rotation PB (Germany).

Björn started playing handball when he was 9 or 10 years old until he was 38. Björn grew up in his home town of Würzburg, Germany and played with a local club in various leagues until he moved to Sweden to study. In Sweden, he joined the team Sävar IK which then played in the Swedish div. 2. When he came back to Würzburg, his team was coached by Horia Markel, a professional coach with the highest certifications. It was from Horia that Björn learned most of his handball.
After graduation in 2000, he moved to Houston, Texas and co-founded a handball club there. As the club was too small to field its own team, he played for the Condors from Atlanta. His biggest success with the Condors was winning the Gold Medal at the 2004 Itajaí Handball Cup in Itajaí, Brazil.
After his move back to Germany, Björn first played in two clubs in Berlin. Then for the BSV Luckau just south of Berlin in the state of Brandenburg (4th division, Berlin-Brandenburg league). Björn later went back to Berlin to play for the PSV Berlin, when multiple ankle injuries ended his career as a player.

The highlight in his career as a player was a one-week stint in fall 2004 in Pamplona, Spain to practice with the Spanish champion of that season, Portland San Antonio. Judged to be one of the best teams in the world, this club was home to such celebrities as world-handball-players Jackson Richardson and Ivano Balic, 1984 Olympic Bronze Medal winner Alexandru Buligan, Champions-League winner Demetrio Lozano and World-Champions Mateo Garralda, Juancho Perez and Albert Rocas.

Björn is now starting to learn how to coach handball.

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