Rio #24 – Men and Women leave Rio With Bronze Medals
Greetings from a Rainy Rio,
Yesterday was a long yet exciting day for our team in Rio.
After a heart-wrenching loss in the semifinals, the world’s No. 1 team found a way to get over the disappointment of missing out on a gold medal and instead took home the bronze after defeating the Netherlands in 4 sets.
Team USA’s attack was spread throughout the roster with Kim Hill (19 points, four aces, two blocks), Foluke Akinradewo (16 points, two blocks, ace), Larson (15 points, two blocks) and Rachael Adams (15 points, five blocks, two aces) led the way.
The U.S. women’s team has now taken home a medal in three straight Olympics, claiming silver in London 2012 and Beijing 2008. The USA women have won three silver medals and two bronze, but have never won gold.
In between Matches we walked next door to the Maracana Stadium and watched the biggest win in Brazilian Soccer in recent memory. After getting knocked out in the World Cup a year ago here in Rio by the Germans 7-1 … The Brazilians had a VERY unique opportunity to exact revenge over Germany in the Gold Medal Matches … It went into Penalty Kicks after being tied 1-1 and Brazil came out on top, winning it’s first Olympic Gold in soccer.
After soccer, we put the Women’s side of the tournament to bed as China won the gold medal 3 sets to 1 over Serbia. It’s the third time the Chinese women’s team has won gold in this event, with victories in 1984 and 2004.
Serbia got off to a 12-7 lead in the first set and never fully let go of it, eventually cruising to a 25-19 win and a 1-0 advantage.
But China had a HUGE will to make history and wasted no time bouncing back taking an 8-4 lead in the second set and eventually running away with a 25-17 victory to even the match at 1-1.
The next two sets were much closer, but the Chinese came out on top each time. They grabbed a commanding 19-11 lead in the third set, but they let Serbia creep back into it by narrowing the score down to 22-21. China recovered, though, to take four of the next five points and a 25-22 decision. The fourth set was a back and forth battle, featuring 15 ties, where no team took a lead of more than three points at any time. The score eventually knotted at 20, and then again at 21, 22, and 23, before China secured the final two points to win the set and the match.
With the victory, Chinese coach “Jenny” Lang Ping became the first person to win Olympic gold as both a coach and a player.
Meanwhile, this was the first volleyball medal for Serbia since it began competing as its own independent country in 2008.
This morning we were again treated to an AMAZING 5 set match between the Russian Men and Team USA for the Bronze Medal. The Giants from Russia dominated the first two sets easily leaving the US Coach John Speraw to go to his bench and find the fix.
That came in the form of veteran Reid Priddy, who had seen VERY few minutes on the court in Rio. He led the team spiritually and physically with 16 Kills and helped US Capture Bronze. Priddy (and Captain David Lee) were playing in their last match as a member of Team USA and both will leave with Bronze to go with the gold they won in 2008.
Overall it was a VERY successful Olympics for both the Men and Women … But there is NO greater champion than the men and women who have given all they have to help produce 39 Matches for NBC, CNBC, MSNC, NBCSN and The USA Network … Major Kudos to my Team.
One more day in Rio and it’s back to the states … But I will bring home so many great memories that are far greater than a Gold Medal.
Love to All,