2008 Olympic Gold Medalists

2008 Olympic Gold Medalists
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Monday, June 30, 2008

A Sword for the Fantasy Buff

For those of you that don't know, my favorite genre of books to read is Fantasy/Adventure. Currently I am re-reading Roger Zelazny's Chronicles of Amber. (Read it when I was about 12 or so.) Bought the omnibus edition which is all 10 books put into one massive tome! Got about 70 more pages to go out of the more than 1200 in the omnibus. Therefore, it is fitting that Phil and I won a sword in Norway. Maybe I should take up sword play as a hobby in the offseason.

The sword really was the driving force behind our victory. Both Phil and I talked a lot about winning the sword. Last year we saw Fabio with his sword and were quite jealous. They are real swords. Not sharpened thank goodness. Although the tip of the sword is very sharp and could mess someone up with a good thrust. The lady who gave it to me just about skewered me through the eye with it when we were on the podium.

The tourney itself was as always one of the best on the FIVB tour. The weather is a bit sketchy but that is Norway for ya. The fans here love there beach volleyball and are very knowleadgeble about the sport. They support their Norwegian teams with passion but also support other teams once the Norwegians are out of the tourney. They are loud and have fun but are never negative like some countries fans that chant ahole when you are about to serve.

In our pool we played the 32nd ranked Norwegian team on Thursday morning. They are a young team that received the Wild Card and had never been in the main draw. We pretty much whooped up on them winning 10 and 11. They are physically impressive with both of them being tall and physical but extremely raw. In our second game we played the top Italian team and beat them in two 13 and 15 or so. Ricardo Lione was playing with a heavy heart as his father had just passed away the day before but played well nonetheless.

On Friday we had only one game and it was to see who would win the pool. We played the Swiss team of Laciga and Schnyder. We beat them in 3 games. The first game was not close as we won 21-14. They then switched tactics and served me jump float serves instead of trying to just bomb their jump serves. It worked. We were in a battle the whole second game. We were up 20-19 when Phil touched a line shot and set me a good set. I tried to be aggressive and bang it but got stuffed. I proceeded to get stuffed on the next 2 balls and we had to go to game 3. In game 3 I mixed it up well and we won 15-11 or 12 to win our pool and get the bye in the first round of playoffs.

Saturday the playoffs started. We had the bye as I mentioned in the last paragraph and our first game was not until 2pm. The weather had been surprisingly good the last several days and Saturday was no exception. It wasn't really warm, about 60 degrees Fahrenheit, but there was no rain and the wind was very slight. In our first match we played the Japanese team of Shiratori and Asahi. They had beaten a Norwegian team to get to that point and it was a big victory for them. They are now tied with the Canadiens for 25th in the Olympic standings and both teams are only 40 points behind the 2nd Chinese team to get into the Olympics. We beat them 14 and 17 and were in control for the majority of the match. In our second match we played the first Chinese team. They are trying to get into the top 6 for Olympic points as that would put them as the first seed. If they are 7 or below they become the 6th seed in the Olympics. I started off slow on some tough jump serves by Tiny but Phil played really well especially from the service line. He and Tiny were both bombing their serves and became a story of who would serve better to win the match. Phil won over Tiny and we won 16 and 19 scoring a real point on an out hit by the right sider to win the match.

On Sunday the weather took a turn for the worse. Woke up to rain and wind and it wasn't looking good. It did slow down however and there was very little rain while we were playing. It was kind of windy but inside the stadium court it was much reduced because of the blockage by the stands. We played the 2nd Dutch team in the semis. It was their first semi ever but they didn't play like it. The first game was a good game going back and forth. We pulled it out by a few in the end though. The second game we were the beneficiaries of some no touch calls on Phil and won pretty easily. Congrats to the Dutch on their best finish ever. This team keeps getting better and better and could be a real threat come Beijing.

In the finals we played Germany's Reckerman and Urbatzka. It was the third week in a row that we played them in the playoffs. The last two we beat them to give them a 5th and 9th respectively. They played really well in the first game and really should have won that game. They were up 18-14 serving. We sided out and then scored two points to get it back to 17-18. They sided out but so did we and we scored another point to even it up. They had one set point at 20-19 but we sided out and took the next point to go up the set point. It took us 8 more set points but Phil got a block to seal the victory at 29-27. The second game we were always a little bit ahead of them. We would very between 1 and 3 points ahead and then they would always bring it back to a 1 point difference. At the end it was 15-14 us. We sided out and then went on a mini run with Phil making a couple of big blocks. It ended on Urbatzka's angle bang being an inch out and we were the winners of some sweet swords!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

FIVB Beach Volleyball Grand Slam Stavanger, Norway

Todd Rogers and Phil Dalhausser are currently competing in the Federation Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB) Beach Volleyball event in Stavanger, Norway, 24-29 June 2008.

Competition is underway.

You can keep up with their match scores at

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Gold under the Eiffel Tower

Gold is much shinier than silver. At least that is how I look at it. Phil and I completed a very solid tournament under the Eiffel Tower this past week. We didn't lose a game this past weekend in winning our third FIVB tourney together.

The week started off with a easy flight on Monday direct from Berlin to Paris on EasyJet. I had a great lift Monday morning in Berlin and than had Chris, our USA massage therapist give me a full deep tissue massage. Painful but helps a ton in the long run. Arrived in Paris in time to find our hotel and have a nice dinner before the sunlight ran out.

On Tuesday we had a very interesting day. We had to get our Russian Visa from the Russian Embassy. We figured we would wake up, have breakfast and then catch a taxi to the Embassy. At about 8:30am we went outside and walked to a main street to find a taxi. After walking and waiting for one hour and not finding an empty or available taxi, we finally went to the site to see if the promoters of the event could help us out. There we were told that today was a strike day for taxi drivers. The Embassy is only open from 9am to noon and there is a long line to get in. We had figured we get there at 9am and wait for 1 hour or so to get in. It was already 10am and we were still at the site. A french women helped us out and tried to get us a taxi. After another 30 minutes she said there is no way because of the strike. Phil and I left the site and were going to try the subway. The french women had given us directions via the subway. As we were walking we saw a taxi that had no one in it stopped at the light. I asked if he could take us and he said no but was very hesitant. Phil jumped in and offered him 50 Euros and he was in. He told us he was on strike so he made Phil move up to the front seat and then put a hood over his taxi sign. He was super nervous and it took him 2 minutes to buckle his seat belt. It was kind of funny for Phil and I. He got us there, took his 50 and sped away. We got to the Embassy at 11am and there was a huge line. In the front of it though was Rachel, Tyra, their coach Kerri, Jake, and Sean. We got in the back of the line and Jake came back to us and told us to come hang out with them and try and get in with them. It worked. If it hadn't, we never would have gotten in. We were very lucky to say the least.

We got out of there at noon and took the subway back to the site. We grabbed some lunch and then did our little plyo workout we do. Watched a couple of games and then chilled for the rest of the day. Wend. we hit the gym and peppered the ball around a bit. Watched the American women go 8-0 in pool play. Foreshadowing of things to come if you will.

Thursday we started playing. Our first match was against Li/Zhou from China. We started off a bit slow but ended the first game strong. The second game we played well the entire game and ended up winning the match pretty easily. In our second game that day we played the Brasilian team of Franco and Benjamin. Pedro Cunha, Franco's regular partner, has been hurt since Italy a month ago and he has been playing with Benjamin. We played very well and won in two fairly easily.

On Friday we played the Russian team with the Bazooka. The match was a good match and both teams sided out very well. Not a lot of points scored. In the end, we scored a point or two more than them and won 18 and 17. That meant that we got the bye in the playoffs and that was our last game for the day. Watched a couple of matches and then grabbed some dinner.

On Saturday we played the same German team that we had played in Berlin. Urbatzka and Reckerman are pretty talented team that is very dangerous. We played well and I would say they were not really on their game. We won 13 and 18. In our second game we played the Russian again. They served Phil the majority of the match with the Bazooka unloading a couple of bombs at him. Phil sided out well other than the bombs and we won 17 and 16. We still had one more game to go against the Brasilian team of Harley and Pedro. We had lost to them in Australia and Italy but we were able to get a little revenge in Paris. We won the first 21-16. We were in control in the second and had a bit of a letdown. They actually went up 21-20. We sided out and switched sides. I scooped Harley on the next two plays and put the ball away for the 23-21 win. Both Phil and I were pretty tired as it was a hot and humid day playing 3 games. Seems like forever since the last time I played 3 games.

On Sunday we played the finals at 4:15 against the Netherlands. Phil and I played very well to win 16 and 17. The first we started off really strong and continued through the game. In the second it was much tighter until the end of the game when we pulled out some big points and were able to pull away. They served Phil a lot of tough jump serves but he was up to the task diving all over the place to pass the ball. He also jump served really well and had some blocks too. I felt great on defense and felt I was touching almost every ball. It was a fun final and we had a good time. Felt great to win out here on the FIVB tour. Hopefully we can do it again this week.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

FIVB Beach Volleyball Gram Slam Paris, France

Todd Rogers and Phil Dalhausser are competing in the Federation Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB) Beach Volleyball event in Paris, France 17-22 June 2008.

You can keep up with their match scores at

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Silver Lining in Berlin

Tough tough loss here in Berlin in the finals. Just couldn't grab it in the second or third games. Overall a solid tourney. At times we played great and at times we played well enough to win.

In pool play we beat Germany #5, Spain #1, and Italy #1. We played well in pool play. Against Germany it really wasn't in doubt as we won 21-15, 21-9. Young team that will be good in the future but was a bit overwhelmed playing in the Main Draw. Against Spain we controlled the first game and won 21-18. In the second we were down 14-17. I sided out and hit a jump serve Ace. I banged the next Jump serve and got a bad pass/set and they made an error. I missed the next serve but followed that with a sideout. Then Phil hit a good jumper forcing a bad pass okay set but we scored the point. Then Phil hit two aces in a row to finish it out 21-18. vs. Italy we played very well in cold rain on Friday and won 21-13, 21-14. We played well the whole time and increased our lead as we went.

We got a bye in the first round as we won our pool. We played the winner of Franco/Cunha from Brasil and Laciga/Schnider from Switzerland. Switzerland won so we played them Saturday morning. They started out well with their jump serves. They both blast them and they don't care who they serve. Both Phil and I probably gave up 3 aces or shanks each. Fortunately, we more than matched them with aces. I would say that Phil had about 6 and I had about 4. We won 16 and 9 I think.

In the next match we played the team that beat Matt and Casey. The German team of Reckerman and Urbatzka is a good team. We started out serving Urbatzka and he sided out like a god. They were serving me really tough float serves and I was spraying them to kingdom come. We lost 21-16 in the first. I started off the same way in the second game and we were down 3-8. I pulled it together and Phil played really well. We also started serving Reckerman and got a lot more points by serving him. I think the second game was 21-18. In the 3rd we started off up 3-0 and never looked back. I think they only scored one point on a dribble ace. Final score was 9 or 10.

In the semis we played Spain #1 again. They beat a bunch of very good teams to get to this point. They beat Marcio and Fabio from Brasil, then Jake and Rosy, and then Germany #2, Klemperer/Koreng. They started off playing great and really never played poorly in the entire match. We were serving the right side guy and he was siding out very very well. They won the first game by a couple of points. In the second game we started serving them both about equally. Phil and I picked up our sideout game and matched them back and forth. We won that game. In the third we were actually down 11-8. I sided out to make it 11-9. Then Phil touched a high line shot that I ran down and he put it away. I think he stuffed the right side guy on the next play to tie it up at 11 all. They sided out and then I sided back out to make it 12 all. Phil then touched another high line shot which I ran down and he put away to put us up 13-12. Then we traded sideouts. Phil ended it on the next play with a good serve that the guy passed perfectly but had to go to the sand to get. His partner gave him a slightly tight set and Phil stuffed him for the 15-13 victory.

In the finals it was a great battle that unfortunately we came out on the losing end. I actually had a lot of fun that game. The weather was nice for the finals but then started dumping during the medal ceremony. In the first game it was neck and neck. Both teams had game point chances. The last point I scooped Ricardo's cut shot and put a line shot down for 27-25. In the second game we came back after being down 12-9 at the break. We had some pretty good point chances in the end but were unable to convert and they sided out to make it 21-19. In the third game it was back and forth. We went up 11-10 and they sided out. Then Ricardo hit a perfect jump serve down the middle. Phil had been taking middle but thought I was going to take it. I thought the ball was out and called out. Ticked the line and they were up 12-11. The next play they served me. Phils set was a bit tight but I played it off Ricardo and Phil made an easy cover. Emmanuel made a great dig and it came back over the net. Phil took it but was stuffed by Ricardo for them to go up 13-11. I sided out on the next play. Ricardo sided out with a deep angle bang. Then I sided out again to make it 14-13 them. The next play Emmanuel sided out with a chop angle cut shot thing under Phil's block and that was match.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

FIVB Pro Beach Volleyball Grand Slam Berlin, Germany

Todd Rogers and Phil Dalhausser are competing in the FIVB Beach Volleyball event in Berlin Germany, 10-15 June 2008.

You can keep up with their match scores at

Monday, June 9, 2008

Love the Deep Sand

Back in the winners circle in Hermosa Beach. Good to be back after a one week hiatus. Great weather, great ambiance, great tourney.

Enjoyed playing in very deep sand for the first time on the AVP this year. Australia had pretty deep sand but other than that, Miami, Dallas, Huntington Beach, Charleston, Italy, Louisville, and Atlanta were all hard packed and shallow. It is so much more fun to play defense in the deep stuff. Guys can't get up and bang from way off the net or hit severe angles where the defensive player is at such a disadvantage. The good defensive players were making a lot of digs this week.

We started off against the qualifier team of Aaron and Travis. I actually recruited Aaron to UCSB but he shined me and went to UCLA instead. Good player with great ball control but small. First time in the main draw for him so congrats to him. We won the game pretty handily in two with scores of around 14 and 12 or so. In our second game on Friday we played Tramblie and Morrison. We struggled with them in Atlanta and barely beat them in two. We were much better in Hermosa and won 15 and 15 or so. I have to say, Ty is the best defensive player on the AVP tour. It isn't close in my opinion. Phil and I were discussing it and he apologized to me saying that after the performances that Ty has put in against us, he had to vote for him for best defensive player. I have to agree with Phil. Ty plays with a passion for defense that is unmatched by anyone on tour. It is fun to watch and to play against. Keep up the good work Ty.

On Saturday we played Nick and Sean in the quarters of the winners bracket. When the draw is a full field draw it is getting pretty tough. Nick and Sean were the 9th seed! We won in 2 games with scores of about 16 and 17 or so. The first game we came out strong and maintained a healthy lead the whole way. The second was much closer until the end when we pulled out a bunch of points. We had to wait the entire day after playing at 9am. We played Rosie and Jake after the women's final at about 4:0o that afternoon. Kind of lame since there are about 1000 courts to play on at Hermosa. Anyways, as always it was a battle. Kind of a war of attrition. In the first game Phil and I were very bad and lost 21-15. In the second game Rosie and Jake were very bad and lost 21-12 or so. In the third game it was tight until 5-5. We then scored 3 in a row. Phil had an over set that he should have blasted straight down but sent it 15 feet out the back of the court. That gave them momentum and I let that mess with my head. I sided out the next play but then they reeled off something like 5 points and ended up ahead 13-11. I sided out to make it 13-12. I scooped Jake but then hit a line shot out to give them match point. I sided out again to make it 14-13 Jake and Rosy. I served Jake and he hit it high off of Phil. I chased it down at the end line and threw up a 50/50 set to Phil who pounded it with no block up. The next point I scooped Jake and we scored again to make it 15-14 us. I then pulled a super dumb dumb and served a jump float to Jake about 4 feet out the back line. Retarded!! I sided out the next play though and then we won on a scoop by me I think. Have a tough time remembering the last points of close matches. Great game and entertaining for the fans.

On Sunday we played the surprise team of Nygaard and Mayer. They are playing very good volleyball right now and seem to compliment one another. I expect them to continue to have some good finishes throughout the rest of the year. We won in 2 games pulling away at the end of each game to win 16 and 16 or so. Nice finish by those guys.

In the finals we played Matt and Casey. It was a great defensive battle. No aces and only a handful of blocks. Tons of digs though with lots of great rallies. The first game was close but we broke it open midway and cruised to a 21-14 victory. The second game they were up 12-9 at the break but we caught them at 17 all. Casey made a great scoop on an angle bang by me and put it away to go up 20-18. I put the next ball away to make it 19-20. Phil had a great jump serve to Casey but Casey made a fantastic pass. Casey shot a short line shot which I picked up off the sand. I hit the ensuing set off of Casey but Matt ran it down. His set went over the net and I hit it off Casey again. He blocked me but it went high on our side and right to Phil. I set him and he banged it hard off of Casey's block to tie it up at 20 all. We traded side outs for a bit and then Phil and I got another point off of a scoop and put away by me. A couple sideouts later I got another scoop and we scored the final point to win the match and the title. Congrats to Matt and Casey who are playing really good volleyball right now.

Time to catch a plane to Berlin now. Never seems to end. I will catch up with you all of you from Germany.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

3rd in Atlanta

A struggle it certainly was. Every single one of our matches seemed extremely difficult. Against Tramblie and Morrison we should have gone to 3 games. We won in 2 but both were by 2 points. That was Friday night.

Saturday we played Olson and Wong and it was the hottest I have played in this year. Humid as well. Center court had very little air moving around it. The outside courts had a nice breeze keeping it a little cooler. Again we won in 2 games but it should have gone 3. We won both games by 2 points. I was pretty hot and tired and my legs felt very heavy. The last play of the game we served Kevin. Phil was blocking angle and I started to slide to the line when I saw Kevin take a peak at me. I switched to run behind the block but Kevin saw that as well and poked it line. I stopped and layed it out to pick up the pokey just off the sand. Olsen scooped my angle bang and then poked it line over Phil. I picked that one up too and put everything in to another angle bang and hit it off of Olsen. I was cooked after that play though and it was a good thing we finished it there.

That night we played Hyden and Keenan. The first game was anything but good for me. We lost by a lot. The second game they were terrible. The third game was a better game but they made a couple of plays in the end and won 15-11 I think. The next morning we played Baxter and Prosser. We were struggling and they were playing well. Bax scooping balls and Prosser siding out. We served Bax and were able to get some points and won the first game 21-19. Another 2 point game. The next game we actually played well and won by 6 or 7 points.

In the crossover semis we played Anthony and Fred and they lived up to their team moniker of team jump serve. They created havoc with their serves. The first game they literally served us off the court. I think we lost by about 6. They were really beating it down Phil's line and must have had at least 4 clean aces down the line. They had one in my angle as well. In the second game we didn't give up the aces and it was knotted up at 18 all. We were still struggling to pass their serves but we were at least giving ourselves a chance by keeping it in play. At 19-18 with them up Fred banged another serve down Phil's line that jumped off the tape and Phil couldn't handle it. Then Anthony sided out for game to make 21-19. Congrats to both of them especially Anthony who made his first final.

Out of the winners circle but managed to score a 3rd at least. Looking forward to having only a drive to get to the next tourney in Hermosa. Then again, the following Monday we fly to Berlin so not that much of a reprieve.