U.S. Beach Teams Helping to Bring the Party to Beijing

Aug. 06, 2008, 1:39 p.m. (ET)

B.J. Hoeptner Evans
Manager, Media Relations and Publications
Phone: 719-228-6800        
BJ.Evans@usav.org 

To view the tentative NBC TV schedule for volleyball, click here.

To view beach volleyball athlete profiles, click here.

Are the citizens of the People’s Republic of China ready to have some fun? The U.S. beach volleyball teams are ready to help bring some West Coast style to the Far East this August.

“Hopefully we will be able to open up some eyes,” said Todd Rogers (Santa Barbara, Calif.), who, with partner Phil Dalhausser (Ormond Beach, Calif.), led all teams in Olympic qualifying points. “I would be shocked if the Chinese don’t embrace it. That’s the ticket I would want. I would want to go to the biggest party at the Olympics.”

Since making its Olympic debut in Atlanta in 1996, beach volleyball has become the party sport of the Summer Games, complete with the hippest music and attractive dancing girls. It doesn’t hurt that the official uniform is a bathing suit.

Teams from the United States have taken away some nice party favors from the three previous beach volleyball venues – three gold medals, two silver and one bronze. The U.S. teams competing in Beijing are also hoping to wear some of the bling.

There will be 24 teams each in the men’s and women’s brackets. The teams are broken into six groups of four for pool play, with 16 teams advancing to the single-elimination round. The beach volleyball festivities will be held Aug. 9-22 at Chaoyang Park in northeastern Beijing. The park’s temporary beach volleyball facility will hold 12,000 people and the tickets were sold out in May.

It looks like Beijing is ready for a party and the U.S. teams are happy to attend.

“I think we’re going to medal, it’s just a matter of what color,” said Ali Wood, USA Volleyball’s Director of Beach Programs.

Leading the belles of the Beijing ball will be the U.S. women’s team of Misty May-Treanor (Costa Mesa, Calif.), 31, and Kerri Walsh (Saratoga, Calif.), 29, the defending Olympic gold medalists and three-time world champions. Walsh will even celebrate her 30th birthday in Beijing on Aug. 15.

“The world has embraced beach volleyball and I love being a part of that,” Walsh said.

May-Treanor and Walsh put together an amazing record during the qualifying period – Jan. 1, 2007-July 21, 2008, to lead all teams in qualifying points.

Among May-Treanor and Walsh’s 2007 accomplishments were: winning their third straight FIVB World Championship in July in Gstaad, Switzerland without losing a set in eight matches; compiling a match record (international and domestic) of 123-4 and a set record of 252-25; winning seven out of eight international tournaments and finishing third in the other; and winning two international tournaments and eight domestic tournaments without dropping a set.

May-Treanor and Walsh were named Sportswomen of the Year by the FIVB. The AVP named them Team of the Year and they won the Crocs Cup Championship.

To open 2008, May-Treanor and Walsh won three straight AVP tournaments before Walsh felt pain in her shoulder, which had undergone surgery during the offseason. The injury caused them to miss a few early-season matches and brought back reminders of May-Treanor straining an abdominal muscle prior to the 2004 Summer Games in Athens. Despite missing some pre-Olympic tournaments, the team came back to dominate the field in Athens, going 6-0 without losing a set to make it to the gold-medal match where they beat Brazil’s Shelda Bede and Adriana Behar, 21-17, 21-11.

But any shoulder worries were dashed when May-Treanor and Walsh returned to the AVP tour and won the next seven tournaments. They also won three FIVB World Tour Grand Slam events and go into the Olympic Games with a 101-match winning streak.

May-Treanor and Walsh are hoping to continue the streak, but know it won’t be easy.

“It can be very difficult to stay focused for four years but Kerri and I are very dedicated to being the best we can as a team,” May-Treanor told the FIVB. “On the women's side, I feel that every country is a threat. The Olympic Games brings out the best in people and all the teams that we face are great.”

Both May-Treanor and Walsh have competed in the Olympic twice before. Prior to their gold medal in Athens, Walsh competed with the 2000 U.S. women’s indoor team that finished fourth while May-Treanor competed in beach volleyball with Holly McPeak and finished fifth in 2000.
 
Nicole Branagh (Orinda, Calif.), 29, and Elaine Youngs (El Toro, Calif.), 38, captured the second Olympic berth with a silver-medal finish at the FIVB event in Moscow, just ahead of compatriots Jen Boss and April Ross. They will be the No. 5 seeded team in Beijing.

Beijing marks Youngs’ third trip to the Olympics. She went with the indoor team that finished seventh in 1996 in Atlanta and won a bronze medal with partner Holly McPeak in 2004 in Athens.

“The Olympics are really addictive,” Youngs said. “After ’04, I considered retiring from international competition, but it’s just too hard to give up.”

The United States, Brazil and China make up the top six women’s seeds going into Beijing. May-Treanor and Walsh finished with the most Olympic qualifying points among the women’s beach teams, but are seeded second behind China’s Jia Tian and Jie Wang, who receive the top seed thanks to an FIVB rule that says a home-country team will receive the top seed if it is ranked in the top six. Tian Jia and Wang were second in points behind May-Treanor and Walsh.
Brazil suffered a setback on Aug. 6 when third-seeded Juliana Da Silva had to withdraw from the Olympic Games due to a knee injury. Her partner, Larissa Franca, was expected to replace her with Ana Paula Connelly, who just missed qualifying for Beijing with partner Shelda Bede. The second Brazilian team is Talita Atunes and Renata Ribeiro, seeded sixth.

The top two Chinese women’s teams – top-seeded Jia Tian/Jie Wang and fourth-seeded Chen Xue and Xi Zhang – have also got to be considered favorites as they hold the home court. Both Chinese women’s teams have trained in the United States with U.S. coach Dane Selznick, who used to coach May-Treanor and Walsh.

Like May-Treanor and Walsh, Dalhausser, 28, and Rogers, 34, the 2007 world champions, led all teams in Olympic qualifying points, but are seeded second behind China’s behind China’s Linyin Xu and Penggen Wu.

Dalhausser and Rogers go into the Olympic tournament having won their last three international events and finishing on the podium in all six international events in which they’ve competed this year.

Dalhausser and Rogers became partners in 2005 after Rogers barely missed qualifying for the 2004 Olympic Games with partner Sean Scott.

When they came together, Dalhausser had no international experience and had only competed domestically for two full seasons. Enter “The Professor” as Rogers is known. Rogers was an assistant coach with the men’s volleyball team at UC Santa Barbara and was more than happy to offer his partner some pointers.

“When we first started playing, we would go over one (opposing) team at each practice,” said Rogers, adding that Dalhausser was a fast learner. “He doesn’t talk about it, but he was a 4.0 student out of high school.”

Dalhausser has also picked up on Rogers’ Olympic dreams and finds himself looking forward to the Games.

“I consider the Olympics the biggest volleyball tournament you can play in. It’s only once every four years,” Dalhausser said. “You can’t just sign up and go play.”

Behind Dalhausser and Rogers, Jake Gibb (Bountiful, Utah), 32, and Sean Rosenthal (Redondo Beach, Calif.), 28, secured the second slot

They secured the United States’ second Olympic berth at the match in Moscow (July 1-6). Although Jake and Sean finished 17th, they accumulated enough points to stay ahead of Matt Fuerbringer and Casey Jennings.

The international competition will be fierce for the men as well. Brazil will send the 2004 gold medalists, Emanuel Rego and Ricardo Santos and Marcio Araujo and Fabio Luiz Magalhães, who are seeded third and fourth, respectively.

Other international men’s teams to watch are Netherland’s fifth-seeded Nummerdor-Schuil, Germany’s sixth-seeded Julius Brink and Christoph Dieckmann, who share Pool F with Gibb and Rosenthal, Russia’s Dmitri Barsouk and Igor Kolodinsky and hometown favorites, Xu and Wu.

The 12,000-seat Chaoyang Park in Beijing will be the venue for the fourth Olympic Beach Volleyball Tournament, with two “Lucky Loser” matches to be played on a court adjacent to Centre Court. The top two teams of each pool advance to the knockout round of 16, along with the two best third-placed teams. The remaining four third-placed teams play two playoff matches to determine the final two places (Lucky Losers) in the Round of 16.

Pools match schedule
* All times are local and subject to change

Aug. 9

TIME GEND. POOL
9:00 Women PA Maaseide-Glesnes NOR vs. Van Breedam-Mouha BEL
10:00 Men PE Nummerdor-Schuil NED vs. Laciga M.-Schnider SUI
11:00 Women PA Tian Jia-Wang CHN vs. Montagnolli-Swoboda AUT
12:00 Women PC Barnett-Cook AUS vs. Uryadova-Shiryaeva RUS
13:00 Men PC Ricardo-Emanuel BRA vs. Fernandes-Morais ANG
14:00 Men PC Schacht-Slack AUS vs. Geor-Gia GEO
18:00 Women PE Branagh-Youngs USA vs. Kadijk R.-Mooren NED
19:00 Women PE Pohl-Rau GER vs. Esteves Ribalta-M. Crespo CUB
20:00 Women PC Juliana-Larissa BRA vs. Saka-Rtvelo GEO
21:00 Men PB Rogers-Dalhausser USA vs. Samoilovs-Plavins LAT
22:00 Men PB Heyer-Heuscher SUI vs. Conde-Baracetti ARG
23:00 Men PE Klemperer-Koreng GER vs. Kjemperud-Skarlund NOR

Aug. 10

9:00 Women PB Walsh-May-Treanor USA vs. Teru Saiki-Kusuhara JPN
10:00 Men PA Xu-Wu CHN vs. Gosch-Horst AUT
11:00 Women PF Karantasiou-Arvaniti GRE vs. Schwaiger-Schwaiger AUT
12:00 Women PF Talita-Renata BRA vs. Candelas-Garcia MEX
13:00 Men PD M. Araujo-Fabio Luiz BRA vs. Lione-Amore ITA
14:00 Women PB Hakedal-Torlen NOR vs. Fern. Grasset-Larrea Peraza CUB
18:00 Women PD Goller-Ludwig GER vs. Augoustides-Nel RSA
19:00 Women PD Xue-Zhang Xi CHN vs. Koutroumanidou-Tsiartsiani GRE
20:00 Men PF Brink-Dieckmann Ch. GER vs. Asahi-Shiratori JPN
21:00 Men PF Gibb-Rosenthal USA vs. Boersma E.-Ronnes NED
22:00 Men PA Herrera-Mesa ESP vs. Kais Kr.-Vesik EST
23:00 Men PD Barsouk-Kolodinsky RUS vs. Doppler-Gartmayer AUT

Aug. 11

9:00 Men PB Conde-Baracetti ARG vs. Samoilovs-Plavins LAT
10:00 Men PC Schacht-Slack AUS vs. Fernandes-Morais ANG
11:00 Women PA Tian Jia-Wang CHN vs. Van Breedam-Mouha BEL
12:00 Women PE E. Ribalta-M. Crespo CUB vs. Kadijk R.-Mooren NED
13:00 Men PC Ricardo-Emanuel BRA vs. Geor-Gia GEO
14:00 Women PA Maaseide-Glesnes NOR vs. Montagnolli-Swoboda AUT
18:00 Women PE Branagh-Youngs USA vs. Pohl-Rau GER
19:00 Women PC Barnett-Cook AUS vs. Saka-Rtvelo GEO
20:00 Women PC Juliana-Larissa BRA vs. Uryadova-Shiryaeva RUS
21:00 Men PE Nummerdor-Schuil NED vs. Kjemperud-Skarlund NOR
22:00 Men PB Rogers-Dalhausser USA vs. Heyer-Heuscher SUI
23:00 Men PE Klemperer-Koreng GER vs. Laciga M.-Schnider SUI

Aug. 12

9:00 Women PB Walsh-May-Treanor USA vs. Fern. Grasset-Larrea Peraza CUB
10:00 Men PA Xu-Wu CHN vs. Kais Kr.-Vesik EST
11:00 Women PD Koutrou.-Tsiartsiani GRE vs. Augoustides-Nel RSA
12:00 Women PB Hakedal-Torlen NOR vs. Teru Saiki-Kusuhara JPN
13:00 Men PD M. Araujo-Fabio Luiz BRA vs. Doppler-Gartmayer AUT
14:00 Women PF Karantasiou-Arvaniti GRE vs. Candelas-Garcia MEX
18:00 Men PF Boersma E.-Ronnes NED vs. Asahi-Shiratori JPN
19:00 Women PD Xue-Zhang Xi CHN vs. Goller-Ludwig GER
20:00 Women PF Talita-Renata BRA vs. Schwaiger-Schwaiger AUT
21:00 Men PD Barsouk-Kolodinsky RUS vs. Lione-Amore ITA
22:00 Men PF Brink-Dieckmann Ch. GER vs. Gibb-Rosenthal USA
23:00 Men PA Herrera-Mesa ESP vs. Gosch-Horst AUT

Aug. 13

9:00 Men PB Rogers-Dalhausser USA vs. Conde-Baracetti ARG
10:00 Women PC Uryadova-Shiryaeva RUS vs. Saka-Rtvelo GEO
11:00 Women PA Tian Jia-Wang CHN vs. Maaseide-Glesnes NOR
12:00 Women PC Juliana-Larissa BRA vs. Barnett-Cook AUS
13:00 Women PA Van Breedam-Mouha BEL vs. Montagnolli-Swoboda AUT
14:00 Men PC Geor-Gia GEO vs. Fernandes-Morais ANG
18:00 Men PB Heyer-Heuscher SUI vs. Samoilovs-Plavins LAT
19:00 Men PE Kjemperud-Skarlund NOR vs. Laciga M.-Schnider SUI
20:00 Men PE Nummerdor-Schuil NED vs. Klemperer-Koreng GER
21:00 Men PC Ricardo-Emanuel BRA vs. Schacht-Slack AUS
22:00 Women PE Branagh-Youngs USA vs. Esteves Ribalta-M. Crespo CUB
23:00 Women PE Pohl-Rau GER vs. Kadijk R.-Mooren NED

Aug. 14

9:00 Women PB Walsh-May-Treanor USA vs. Hakedal-Torlen NOR
10:00 Women PD Xue-Zhang Xi CHN vs. Augoustides-Nel RSA
11:00 Women PB F.Grasset-L. Peraza CUB vs. Teru Saiki-Kusuhara JPN
12:00 Women PF Talita-Renata BRA vs. Karantasiou-Arvaniti GRE
13:00 Women PF Schwaiger-Schwaiger AUT vs. Candelas-Garcia MEX
14:00 Women PD Goller-Ludwig GER vs. Koutroumanidou-Tsiartsiani GRE
15:00 Men PD Doppler-Gartmayer AUT vs. Lione-Amore ITA
16:00 Men PA Xu-Wu CHN vs. Herrera-Mesa ESP
17:00 Men PA Kais Kr.-Vesik EST vs. Gosch-Horst AUT
18:00 Men PD M. Araujo-Fabio Luiz BRA vs. Barsouk-Kolodinsky RUS
19:00 Men PF Gibb-Rosenthal USA vs. Asahi-Shiratori JPN
20:00 Men PF Brink-Dieckmann Ch. GER vs. Boersma E.-Ronnes NED

Women’s Lucky Loser matches

14-Aug-08 21:00-21:50
14-Aug-08 21:00-21:50 (Played on Court 2)

Men’s Lucky Loser matches

14-Aug-08 22:00-22:50
14-Aug-08 22:00-22:50 (Played on Court 2)

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