||[Oct. 4th, 2008|11:29 pm]
Beach volleyball was again a major event on NBC, which makes sense because the Americans did very well. Indoor volleyball wasn't often featured in prime time, but it got plenty of coverage (often live in late night), and was the final event shown before the closing ceremony.|
- Venues: Chaoyang Park Beach Volleyball Ground (beach), Capital Indoor Stadium and Beijing Institute of Technology Gymnasium (indoor)
- Commentators: Chris Marlowe, Karch Kiraly, and Heather Cox (beach). Marlowe and Kiraly did a great job as usual. Paul Sunderland and Kevin Barnett (indoor).
- Favorites Todd Rogers ("The Professor") and Phil Dalhausser ("The Thin Beast") were upset in their first match by the unheralded Latvians. Luckily, they turned it around to make the elimination round.
- To get to the finals, Rogers and Dalhausser had to beat an oddly named team: Brazilians Renato "Geor" Gomes and Jorge "Gia" Terceiro, who now compete for...Georgia! Yep, they went by just "Geor" and "Gia."
- Brazilians Márcio and Fábio defeated their favored countryman Ricardo and Emanuel (the eventual bronze medalists) to reach the final. There they barely lost the first set to Rogers and Dalhausser and took the second set. But in the third, Dalhausser became a dominant blocking force, getting a bunch in a row (very cool!) to get the gold.
- On the women's side, the Americans didn't have so much trouble. That's because they were Misty May (-Treanor) and Kerri Walsh! My favorite girls dominated again, not losing a single set en route to a second gold medal. In the final, they had to defeat a hometown team in the pouring rain, but they prevailed. China took bronze as well...seriously?!
- Misty scattered her mom's ashes on the court again after the win.
- Misty and Kerri also had a big fan present early on--President Bush, who was playing volleyball with them and apparently slapping Misty on the back or ass...WHAT?
- Misty was also adorable doing a ridiculous dance on the Great Wall...and wearing a huge colored wig while watching the men play.
- Yes, these girls are awesome.
- The U.S. men's volleyball team was struck with tragedy on day 1 of competition. Head coach Hugh McCutcheon's father-in-law and mother-in-law were attacked by a random lunatic (who then jumped to his death). The father-in-law later died of his stab wounds, but the mother-in-law recovered. McCutcheon was away from the team for a while.
- The team, led by (great name) Lloy Ball, must have been inspired or something, as they went 5-0 in pool play.
- They then made it to the semis, won a great match against Russia, and then took on Brazil for gold. And won! This was the last event NBC showed, and I was already spoiled. But it was still great to see--I never imagined such a happy ending, even though it was still shrouded in tragedy.
- Meanwhile, the women's team, led by former Chinese player "Jenny" Lang Ping, went 4-1 in pool play, losing only to Cuba. But then they beat Cuba in the semis to advance to the final!
- Unfortunately, they couldn't complete the volleyball sweep, losing to the Brazilians. But still, a great performance, the best since another silver in 1984.