Greetings from a Balmy Rio,
Yesterday The USA’s Men Volleyball team took a HUGE step towards winning Gold in Rio. After starting of 0-2 the tournament here (winning only a single set in it’s 1st two matches) the US Men’s Team has strung together 4 straight VERY impressive wins over Brazil, France, Mexico and yesterday they crushed reigning World Champions Poland in 3 straight sets to move into the Medal Round on Friday as they will take on number one seed Italy. This is a revenge match for the U.S. because the Italians man handled the boys in Red, White and Blue in Pool play, but that seems like forever ago. Moreover, everything that failed the US from serving and service receive has completely turned around and is an integral part of its win streak. It should be a great match but I look for our boys to move on to the Gold Medal match.
The other Semi final match features Russia, who wiped out Canada yesterday in 3 sets . They will face a favor good yet slightly banged up Brazil team. The host country faced Argentina late last night in front of a wild and crazy crowd, overcoming an injury to Lucarelli, one of the tournament’s most outstanding hitters, to defeat it’s South American rival.
During our break yesterday we had some chill-time and thanks to our OUTSTANDING Operations Producer, Anna Berg and Technical Manager, Brian Raynes, we had a great place to “Hang.
Smoke em if you got, em and James & Brian have had em all month long …
Love the Street Art in Rio …
Huge traffic jam at Maracana for Brazil Men vs Honduras in Futbol forced us to walk the last .25 mile to work … A VERY safe and fun stroll through a peacefully passionate Brazilian Throng …
Separated at Birth …
Vote for Pedro (Napolean Dynamite) and Taylor Sander of the USA.
Some of us were lucky enough to walk into the Maracana next door to our venue and set foot on the field of Rio’s true “Shrine” of the game of Futbol and though the stadium was completely empty (it can hold over 70,000 people), the sound system was going at full steam, a truly ethereal moment caught on video by our own Kevin Barnett …
Enjoy this Spiritual moment from an Empty Maracana Stadium, be sure to crank the audio (Courtesy: The Kevin Barnett)
Barney, also started a trend that has taken hold on the US Men’s Team, labeling Taylor Sander with the moniker, Pedro, from Napoleon Dynamite, an obvious parallel as evidenced below.
For the remainder of the tournament, we are down to two matches a day. The Women’s Semis today, the Men’s Semis tomorrow, the Women’s Bronze and Gold on Saturday and Sunday we have the Men’s Bronze and Gold matches to conclude our 39 event schedule on.
Today starts with the Women’s Semis today as the U.S. and Serbia play for the second time in these games. Team USA won 3-1 in pool play earlier here in Rio. The Serbian side playing its best volleyball of the tournament. They have extremely aggressive jump servers – Brankica Mihajlovic (BRAN-kit-suh mee-HAI-loh-vich) broke the Olympic women’s serving speed record on Aug. 6, only to be beaten days later by teammate Tijana Boskovic (tee-YA-na bos-KOH-vich), with a 62 mph heater.
Team USA is in for a VERY tough match but they have been riding coach Karch Kiraly’s mantra of “the five F’s” (fast, family, fun, fortitude and ferociousness) – aimed at building a team environment to achieve the ultimate goal of a first U.S women’s volleyball gold.
The winner will face either China or the Netherlands in the final.
Here’s our airtime schedule for today:
• USA vs Serbia (W) 12:00 PM/ET NBC (Live)*
- A cutdown version of this match will air in NBC Primetime.
• China vs Netherlands (W) 10:15 PM/ET NBCSN (Live)
Four more days to go in Rio and I am off to the land of Corned Beef Sandwhiches on Rye, Beef Tacos and as much Ice Cream as I can ingest.
Keep watching, the matches are going to get amazing as we ride the Gold Medal hopes for both the men and women’s teams. And, Don’t forget to follow me on instagram (JAWPRODS) for more photos and stories!
Love to all,
PS – Volleyball can be a VERY violent sport, even for director’s, see below!