Rio #18 – A matchup of Legends goes to the USA
Team Volleyball is in full stride, crusing through this Marathon of 12 shows in 4 days.
So many beautiful sights in Rio, including the graffiti that turns grey walls of the Streets into an endless palette of amazing colors
Yesterday’s action was highlighted by the USA Women’s Team closing out pool play undefeated (5-0) after defeating a very dissapointing Team from China. This is the only sport I can think of where two of the greatest competitors in the games history went on to become elite coaches at the highest level of the sport; and they met up yesterday. For China, it was Coach “Jenny” Lang Ping, a former Chinese Player and the former head coach of the U.S. Women’s national volleyball team. Because of her dominant play on the court she earned the nickname “The Iron Hammer.” She was a member of the Chinese Team that won the Gold Medal over the United States at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles. In 2002, Lang Ping became an inductee of the Volleyball Hall of Fame in Holyoke, Massachusetts. In 2008 she coached the U.S. National team to a silver medal in at the Beijing Olympics in her home country.
Chinese Women’s Coach and Hall of Fame Volleyball Member, “Jenny” Lang Ping
On the U.S. side is Coach Karch Kiraly, the only player (man or woman) to have won Olympic gold medals in both volleyball categories: beach and indoor. The Federation of International Volleyball, (FIVB), volleyball’s highest governing body, honored Kiraly as the greatest volleyball player of the 20th Century, and he is widely regarded as the greatest male volleyball player in history. He played college volleyball for the UCLA and won three national championships.
USA Women’s Volleyball Coach, Karch Kiraly, the greatest Volleyball player of the 20th Century
Kiraly got the better of this matchup but both teams moved onto the quarters here in Rio.
In our late night match we saw the best perfomance in the tournament thus far by an Women’s team as the home team from Brazil crushed the Russians in front of a raucus home crowd. As the brackets for the quarterfinals are set and the matches are on Tuesday.
Women’s Quarterfinal Brackets
• Brazil (1) vs China (4) 9:15 PM/ET
• South Korea (2) vs Netherlands (3) 9:00 AM/ET
• USA (1) vs Japan 2:00 PM/ET
• Russia (2) vs Serbia (3) 5:00 PM/ET
Today we have another long day, with some HUGE men’s matches that will not only establish the Men’s seedings in both pools but our last match can potentially see the host Brazilians get eliminated from the Olympics with a loss to a VERY solid French team.
• USA vs Mexico (M) 10:35 AM/ET NBC (Live)
• Russia vs Iran (M) 2:00 PM/ET NBCSN (Tape)
• Brazil vs France 9:35 PM/ET NBCSN (Live)
With 6 days of competition left we are down to our last 17 matches of the 38 we have on the schedule. My team has been so good and have handled the tremendously long hours with true class and professionalism. It’s been an honor to work with these men and women as we journey towards the gold medal matches next weekend. It’s numbing to go through these days but a month from now when we are all back in the States we will look back at the work we have done in Rio with great pride.
Enjoy the games … I promise it only gets better from this point on.
Love to all,