BEIJING (Aug. 21, 2008) – I will need someone to do the research, but I think it is safe to say the USA Volleyball has been the most successful volleyball federation in the world since 1984 when it comes to Olympic medals. It might be close with Brazil.
With Misty and Kerri's gold medal today, USA volleyball teams have won gold medals in every Olympic Games since 1984 except for the 1992 Games in Barcelona. Gold and Silver in 1984 (men and women), Gold in 1988 (men), 2 Bronze in 1992 (men and women), Gold and Silver in Atlanta in 1996 (both men's beach teams), Gold in 2000 (men's beach), and Gold and Silver in 2004 (both women's beach). That's a lot of medals.
It's a heady time right now for USA Volleyball with Dalhauser/Rogers and our women's indoor team set to play for Gold against Brazilian teams.
To say that the amount of time that our staff spends scouting opponents is impressive would be an understatement. Most mortals would wilt working the hours they do studying opposing teams. They probably spent a combined total of 10 hours among them just yesterday scouting Russia before our match vs. Serbia, and a grand total of over 20 hours just on that team throughout the first couple of weeks of the Games.
The USA delegation has its own bus driver to and from the Village and Beijing Normal University. It leaves the Village every hour at the bottom of the hour, and returns from BNU at the top of the hour. The drive is 15 to 20 minutes and the bus is authorized to use the Olympic lanes on the streets and freeways. The driver is great—aggressive enough to deal with city traffic. He helps load and unload pole vaults, bicycles, ball carts, etc. He also must be one of the most popular men in Beijing because he regularly honks and gesticulates to his friends on the road.
The Village atmosphere definitely changes as the Games progress. As more and more athletes finish their competitions there is a more relaxed air to the place. In some cases it's downright jocular. When we got back at 1:30am after our first late match vs. Bulgaria it was a ghost town. Last night it was rather social with people meandering here and there. There was even a Spanish couple sitting on a village park bench as if they were on a date in the Plaza Mayor in Madrid. Let me simply say that it seemed as though they were getting along with each other quite well.
Jamie, John, Marv and I went to watch our women's water polo team in the gold medal match. A great game, but Holland came out on top in the last minute, 9-8. Our women's soccer team just scored an enormous upset by beating Brazil for the gold tonight.