One on One with Foluke Akinradewo

By Bill Kauffman | June 30, 2014, 12:34 p.m. (ET)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (June 30, 2014) – Foluke Akinradewo (Plantation, Fla.), a 2012 Olympic silver medalist with the U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team, is ready to get back on the volleyball court after sitting out all of the 2013 international season and the 2013-14 club season. What better way than to do so on USA soil with the No. 2 U.S. Women’s National Team hosting No. 1 Brazil in a four-match USA Volleyball Cup series in southern California and Honolulu.

The USA Volleyball Cup, a potential preview of the 2016 Olympic Games gold-medal match that will be played in Rio De Janeiro, opens on July 5 at UC Irvine’s Bren Center at 7 p.m. PT. The series shifts to the Galen Center on the University of Southern California campus at 5 p.m. PT on July 6. The teams will fly to Honolulu for matches on July 11 and July 12 at the University of Hawaii’s Stan Sheriff Center. Both matches are at 7 p.m. HT.

“In general, any time we play Brazil it is a dog fight,” Akinradewo said. “You are going to see speed, high athleticism, elite volleyball. If you want to see something exciting and something new and different, then you should come to the game.”

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In the video interview above, hear what Akinradewo has to say about playing Brazil in the USA Volleyball Cup, what drives her to succeed on the volleyball court, what volleyball has to offer to grow the game, her post-volleyball career aspirations and some facts about herself that many may not know.

The U.S. Women have lost to Brazil in the last two Olympics Games gold-medal matches in 2008 (Beijing) and 2012 (London). Surprisingly, the U.S. Women have never won a major volleyball gold medal in the program’s history (Olympic Games, FIVB World Championship, FIVB World Cup) whereas their male counterparts have won Olympic gold three times.

In the second year of the Olympic quadrennial, the American team is building toward Olympic qualification. Team USA was 25-6 in 2013 playing a young roster that netted 13 wins against teams among the top 10 in the world. Not only will they need to be their best to be one of the 12 teams to earn a spot into the Olympic Games once team qualifications start in 2015, but they will need to be their best in 2016 to overcome their arch rival, Brazil, who will play host to the 2016 Olympic Games.

Beverage producer KonaRed is an official supplier for the USA Volleyball Cup.