Americans Seek Repeat Golds in Olympic Beach Volleyball

    Kerri Walsh Jennings (R) and Misty May-Treanor of the US celebrate a point against Australia during women's beach volleyball match at 2012 OlympicsKerri Walsh Jennings (R) and Misty May-Treanor of the US celebrate a point against Australia during women's beach volleyball match at 2012 Olympics
    x
    Kerri Walsh Jennings (R) and Misty May-Treanor of the US celebrate a point against Australia during women's beach volleyball match at 2012 Olympics
    Kerri Walsh Jennings (R) and Misty May-Treanor of the US celebrate a point against Australia during women's beach volleyball match at 2012 Olympics
    Parke Brewer
    LONDON — The London Olympics beach volleyball tournament is being played at the Horse Guards Parade grounds, one of the iconic venues of the Olympics and one that brings together the past and the present.

    The Horse Guards Parade dates back to 1745.  It takes its name from the soldiers who have provided protection for the monarch since 1660.  It is seen as the heart of London’s ceremonial life and still hosts an impressive display of pageantry every year on the Queen’s official birthday.

    But during the Olympics, sand, volleyball nets and women in brief bikini swimsuits are on display for the beach volleyball event.

    American Misty May-Treanor, who with partner Kerri Walsh, has won the last two women’s beach volleyball gold medals, thinks it is fitting.

    “As far as bringing new and old together, that is our sport.  If you look at us like new players coming in, old players, you want to mesh the two.  And I think that is what the site symbolizes is generations intermixing and meshing,” she said.

    American April Ross, half of the other U.S. women’s beach volleyball duo, thinks having the clash of cultures was a great idea.

    “I think the clash is going to bring people in.  They are going to want to see it, and that is why the event is so popular.  And hopefully we gain lifetime fans because they truly appreciate it once they see it.  But we feel so blessed to be playing there.  It is such a historic site, and I think we got the best location of the entire Olympics,” Ross said.

    The women’s field at these Olympics, according to May-Treanor, is strong throughout.

    “It is great to see the world of beach volleyball growing the way it has, and it has grown tremendously worldwide.  If you look at the tournaments leading up to these Games there’s been such parity amongst the different winners.  So you can see how the game is growing and that is what us as athletes want,” May-Treanor said.

    Of course that will make it more difficult for May-Treanor and Walsh to win an unprecedented third gold medal.  The two have been a team since 2001.  They both stepped away from the sport for a couple of years after winning at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, but May-Treanor said they have enjoyed playing together again.

    “For me it is coming to an end after this event.  This is my last event.  You know, for us it is about the journey.  It is about the hard work.  It is putting in the extra hours.  But we are really excited to be here together again,” May-Treanor said.

    May-Treanor says since Beijing the style of play in beach volleyball has even changed, but they have adapted.  What she finds hard now is hearing ages announced at tournaments before she plays.  She celebrated her 35th birthday Monday in London and Walsh is 34.  Many of their opponents are 21 and 22 - like the American pair was when they started out in the sport.

    And there has even been a major rule change.  Only two months before the London Games, the International Olympic Committee changed the rules so that women do not have to wear bikinis.  A number of culturally conservative countries had lobbied for that.

    Jen Kessy, one of the other U.S. women’s beach volleyball players in London, backs the change.

    “We actually think it is a great thing for the sport.  We want women of all different religions and everywhere from across the world to be able to play our sport, and to not be able to play because of the attire is not okay for us.  So the fact that they can wear more modest gear is something great,” Kessy said.

    The men beach volleyball players, of course, do not have to worry about such things.  And they do not get nearly the attention either.  But Beijing gold medalist Phil Dalhausser of the United States, at a joint news conference with the women, told reporters he does not care.

    “I am perfectly okay with it.  They are way prettier than us, so I do not blame you guys for wanting to talk to them,” Dalhausser said.

    Dalhausser, along with partner Todd Rogers, are trying to duplicate their gold medal achievement from Beijing, just like Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh.  But all four said since they have already gotten their gold, they do not feel as much pressure and are able to enjoy the experience of London Olympics.
    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortagei
    X
    February 12, 2016 7:31 PM
    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortage

    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Gateway to Mecca: Historical Old Jeddah

    Local leader Sami Nawar's family has been in the Old City of Jeddah for hundreds of years and takes us on a tour of this ancient route to Mecca, also believed to be the final resting place of Adam's wife, Eve.
    Video

    Video New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Uganda

    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video Russia Bristles at NATO Expansion in E. Europe

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is meeting Friday with the head of NATO after the Western military alliance and the United States announced plans for the biggest military build-up in Europe since the Cold War. Russia has called NATO's moves a threat to stability in Europe. But NATO says the troop rotations and equipment are aimed at reassuring allies concerned about Russia as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.