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.
    Donations Rescue Afghan Parents, Children From Forced Labori
    X
    May 05, 2016 6:44 PM
    A Facebook campaign organized by a VOA radio host raised 150,000 Afghan rupees to rescue a family from forced labor at a brick kiln in Nangarhar province – the result of the father’s unpaid debt. Video by a VOA reporter in Jalalabad went viral this week and triggered the Facebook campaign.
    Video

    Video Donations Rescue Afghan Parents, Children From Forced Labor

    A Facebook campaign organized by a VOA radio host raised 150,000 Afghan rupees to rescue a family from forced labor at a brick kiln in Nangarhar province – the result of the father’s unpaid debt. Video by a VOA reporter in Jalalabad went viral this week and triggered the Facebook campaign.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Troops Recount Firefight Which Killed US Navy SEAL

    A U.S. Navy SEAL killed Tuesday, when Islamic State fighters punched through Kurdish lines in northern Iraq, was part of a quick reaction force sent to extract other U.S. troops trapped by the surprise offensive. VOA's Kawa Omar spoke with Kurdish troops in the town of Telskuf -- the scene of what U.S. officials called a "dynamic firefight."
    Video

    Video British Lawmakers Warn EU Exit Talks Could Last A Decade

    Leaving the European Union would mean difficult negotiations that could take years to complete, according to a bipartisan group of British lawmakers. While the group did not recommend a vote either way, the lawmakers noted trade deals between the EU and non-EU states take between four and nine years on average. Henry Ridgwell reports on the mounting debate over whether Britain should stay or exit the EU as the June vote approaches.
    Video

    Video NASA Astronauts Train for Commercial Space Flights

    Since the last Shuttle flight in 2011, the United States has been relying on Russian rockets to launch fresh crews to the International Space Station. But that may change in the next few years. NASA and several private space companies are developing advanced capsules capable of taking humans into low orbit and beyond. As VOA's George Putic reports, astronauts are already training for commercial spacecraft in flight simulators.
    Video

    Video US Worried Political Chaos in Iraq Will Hurt IS Fight

    The White House is expressing concern about rising political chaos in Iraq and the impact it could have on the fight against the Islamic State. The U.S. says Iraq needs a stable, central government to help push back the group. But some say Baghdad may not have a unified government any time soon. VOA's White House correspondent Mary Alice Salinas reports.
    Video

    Video Press Freedom in Myanmar Fragile, Limited

    As Myanmar begins a new era with a democratically elected government, many issues of the past confront the new leadership. Among them is press freedom in a country where journalists have been routinely harassed or jailed.
    Video

    Video Taliban Threats Force Messi Fan to Leave Afghanistan

    A young Afghan boy, who recently received autographed shirts and a football from his soccer hero Lionel Messi, has fled his country due to safety concerns. He and his family are now taking refuge in neighboring Pakistan. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from Islamabad.
    Video

    Video Major Rubbish Burning Experiment Captures Destructive Greenhouse Gases

    The world’s first test to capture environmentally harmful carbon dioxide gases from the fumes of burning rubbish took place recently in Oslo, Norway. The successful experiment at the city's main incinerator plant, showcased a method for capturing most of the carbon dioxide. VOA’s Deborah Block has more.
    Video

    Video EU Visa Block Threatens To Derail EU-Turkey Migrant Deal

    Turkish citizens could soon benefit from visa-free travel to Europe as part of the recent deal between the EU and Ankara to stem the flow of refugees. In return, Turkey has pledged to keep the migrants on Turkish soil and crack down on those who are smuggling them. Brussels is set to publish its latest progress report Wednesday — but as Henry Ridgwell reports from London, many EU lawmakers are threatening to veto the deal over human rights concerns.
    Video

    Video Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Ruling

    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Painting Captures President Lincoln Assassination Aftermath

    A newly restored painting captures the moments following President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in 1865. It was recently unveiled at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, where America’s 16th president was shot. It is the only known painting by an eyewitness that captures the horror of that fateful night. VOA’s Julie Taboh tells us more about the painting and what it took to restore it to its original condition.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora