Manager, Media Relations and Publications
(The USOC contributed to this article)
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Oct. 7, 2008) - Five members of the U.S. Olympic Women's Indoor Volleyball Team and 11 Paralympic Sitting Volleyball Team members were on the White House South Lawn as President George W. Bush hosted more than 500 members of the 2008 U.S. Olympic and Paralympic teams during a Tuesday morning reception in Washington, D.C.
President Bush has been an ardent supporter of the 2008 U.S. Olympic and Paralympic teams having hosted a send-off celebration at the White House prior to the Games in addition to meeting with the U.S. Olympic Team before the Opening Ceremonies on August 8 and watching many of them compete. An official White House delegation also traveled to Beijing for the 2008 Paralympic Games and met with members of the U.S. Paralympic Team.
The silver-medal winning U.S. Olympic Women's Indoor Volleyball Team was represented at the White House by Heather Bown (Yorba Linda, Calif.), Nicole Davis (Stockton, Calif.), Ogonna Nnamani (Bloomington, Ill.), Stacy Sykora (Burleson, Texas) and Logan Tom (Salt Lake City, Utah). Several members of the 12-player roster have current commitments with their overseas professional teams and could not attend. Tom Hogan, an assistant coach for the 2008 Olympic Team, will also be a part of the White House visit.
The U.S. Paralympic Sitting Volleyball Team, which captured the silver medal in Beijing, will be represented at the White House by Allison Aldrich (Schuyler, Neb.), Heather Erickson (Fayetteville, N.C.), Katie Holloway (Lake Stevens, Wash.), SuGui Kriss (Ravena, N.Y.), Kendra Lancaster (Westfield, Ind.), Hope Lewellen (Palos Park, Ill.), Brenda Maymon (Sellersberg, Ind.), Gina McWilliams (The Colony, Texas), Nichole Millage (Champaign, Ill.), Kari Miller (Washington, D.C.) and Lora Webster (Cave Creek, Ariz.). Alex Gouldie (St. Paul, Neb.) was unable to attend.
Members of the U.S. Olympic Men's Indoor Volleyball Team and the U.S. Olympic Beach Team members were unable to attend as many have already left for overseas professional commitments.
During the South Lawn speech, President Bush discussed the U.S. Olympic Men's Indoor Volleyball Team's gold medal against unfavorable odds.
"I also know that all of us were deeply touched by what happened to Hugh McCutcheon and his family," President Bush said regarding the U.S. Olympic Men's Indoor Volleyball Team's head coach. "Nevertheless, we were greatly inspired when the men's volleyball team rallied. They won an incredible gold medal against all odds to really help lift up the coach's family and his spirits, as well as the whole nation's spirits."
President Bush also referred to meeting beach volleyball gold medalists Todd Rogers (Santa Barbara, Calif.), Phil Dalhausser (Ormond Beach, Calif.), Misty May-Treanor (Costa Mesa, Calif.) and Kerri Walsh (Saratoga, Calif.) during the Olympics.
"I got to meet Todd Rogers and Phil Dalhausser. These two men are incredible athletes ... It was really interesting to be there to watch them warm up. And then they introduced me to the Brazilian team and to the Italian team, and it was really a lot of fun -- but not nearly as much fun as spending time with Misty May-Treaner and Kerri Walsh," President Bush said jokingly.
"These two women are not only great athletes, they're really great people," President Bush continued. "And I'm just so sorry that Misty May-(Treanor) got injured on Dancing for [sic] the Stars. God, if only she had me as a partner, you know? Except I can't dance. But I wish -- you know, it's interesting, I read a comment from Misty May (Treanor) today. She said, yes, I got hurt Dancing on [sic] the Stars, but I'll be back at the 2012 Olympics."
A full transcript of President Bush's welcome to the Olympians and Paralympians can be found by clicking here.
At the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijings, the United States became the first country ever to have teams playing for the gold medal in all four volleyball disciplines. The U.S. beach team of May-Treanor and Walsh won their second consecutive gold medal in women's Olympic beach volleyball by sweeping top-ranked Tian Jia and Wang Jie (China) on Aug. 21. May-Treanor and Walsh became the first pair to win two Olympic beach gold medals, and did so without dropping a set. On the following day, Dalhausser and Rogers defeated Brazil's Marcio Araujo and Fábio Luiz Magalhães in three sets to win the men's Olympic beach gold medal, despite a loss to open the Games. Dalhausser and Rogers became the third different American tandem to win an Olympic men's beach volleyball gold medal.
The U.S. Olympic Men's Indoor Team captured the Olympic gold medal with a four-set victory over top-ranked Brazil on the final day of the Olympics. The U.S. Men, which won their third Olympic gold medal since 1984, went undefeated during the tournament despite playing under adverse conditions. McCutcheon dealt with a family tragedy while in Beijing as his father-in-law was killed and mother-in-law seriously wounded at a Beijing tourist site. A month earlier, Team USA won its first-ever FIVB World League gold medal. The squad was recognized by the U.S. Olympic Committee as its Team of the Month for August 2008.
The U.S. Olympic Women's Indoor Team earned a spot in the Olympic gold-medal match against top-ranked Brazil on Aug. 23, but settled for the silver medal after falling in four sets. The U.S. Women, the only team in the Games to win a set against Brazil, earned its first Olympic medal since 1992. During the Olympics, Team USA defeated second-ranked Italy, third-ranked Cuba, fifth-ranked Japan and host seventh-ranked China. The U.S. Women's Olympic Team also played under similar difficult conditions as McCutcheon's wife Elisabeth was a 2004 Olympian and played with eight of the 12 members of the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team.
The U.S. Women's Sitting Team concluded the run of summer success at the Paralympic Games in Beijing. Team USA reached the gold-medal match after finishing with a bronze at the 2004 Paralympic Games, but settled for the 2008 silver medal with its second loss of the tournament to host China.
The 597 members of the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team achieved one of the best performances in Games history. The U.S. Team concluded the 2008 Olympic Games with 110 medals (36 gold, 38 silver, 36 bronze), leading the overall medal standings for the fourth consecutive Olympic Games while setting a new U.S. record for medal production in a full-participation Games. The previous record for the U.S. Team was 108 medals won at the Barcelona 1992 Olympic Games, followed by 107 medals won at the Mexico City 1968 Olympic Games (does not include the Los Angeles 1984 Olympic Games or the St. Louis 1904 Olympic Games).
In addition to the medal count, the U.S. Team finished the 2008 Olympic Games with 203 top-8 finishes, which is seven ahead of the total the U.S. Team earned at the 2004 Olympic Games. The 203 top-8 finishes placed Team USA first, 34 ahead of China's 169, with Russia third at 165.
The 2008 U.S. Paralympic Team also enjoyed great success in Beijing, finishing third in the overall medals standings with 99, and was 11 better than the 88 won in Athens in 2004. The team's third place finish in the medal count, bettered its standings from Athens (fourth) and Sydney (fifth).