2008 Olympic Gold Medalists

2008 Olympic Gold Medalists
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Friday, January 30, 2009

HWN #2

It has been a very cold trip so far. Took off from SB on Wend morning. Went through Phoenix on my way to Minneapolis on US Airways. Trip went well and we arrived on time at 5pm. A couple of us hustled to the hotel to check in and drop our bags off. Jen Boss and I had to do an appearance at the local Hard Rock Cafe where we signed a handful of autographs and had dinner. We went over to the Target Center as the Minnesota Timberwolves had a game vs. Detroit that night. Everyone was there watching and it was a good game to watch. Went down on the floor and threw out some T-shirts for the fans and gave away some tickets. Detroit ended up winning by about 8 after being behind for pretty much the entire game.

The next day I had a ton of media stuff to do. TV thing and a bunch of phone calls. Got through all that and even managed to get a workout in before heading over to the Target Center to get ready to play. On the guys side we had Stein Metzger, Anthony Medel, and Matt Olson with myself. On the women's side there was Jen Boss, Tyra Turner, Jenny Kropp, and Nicole Branagh. The women started first and Jenny Kropp won for the women. We jumped in next and we had some really good fun games. I started off with Matt and it was back and forth against Stein and Anthony. We ended up winning when I hit a ball angle for a sideout that went off the top of the block. Score was 15-13. Next I played with Stein and we jumped out to a 5-1 lead before Anthony blasted a couple of jumpers to get them back into the game. We were actually down 13-12 but sided out and scored 2 points to win the match 15-13. The last game I played with Anthony. We were pretty steady the whole match and ended up winning 15-11. So I ended up being the winner in Minneapolis.

The last game we played the co-ed 4's game. Jenny's team was Stein, Tyra and Matt. My team was Nicole, Jen and Anthony. It was a blast just like last week when we played. The women were hitting and blocking and the men were digging and setting. My team won 21-16. It is pretty funny as all the fans are really into the 4 person game.

After the match we all jumped on the bus and headed for Omaha, Nebraska. It was about a 5 1/2 hour ride. Most people watched a movie and then went to bed. We got in at 5am and I went directly to my room and crashed on the bed.

As for the cold, well, Minneapolis had a high of 14 while we were there but the wind chill was brutal. Not sure exact temp. but it was colder than last week when temps were in the single digits. The wind chill is the killer in this cold weather. Just cuts through everything you have on and freezes you. Today in Omaha it is scheduled to get all the way up to 32 degrees. Relatively balmy really. Low is in the low teens. Fortunately we are inside the whole time.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

HWN #1

It has been a long 4 1/2 days. Nick, Phil and I flew out of SB early Wend. morning. We stopped over in Denver and continued on to Grand Rapids, Michigan. I had dinner with a local promoter and friend and then went and spoke to a local college program. The next morning I woke up and went to the second biggest YMCA in the nation. The thing was huge. Had a great weights workout before I had to do some media stuff. Before the actual playing started we all had a clinic to do as well as several autograph sessions. The women competed first and Angie Akers ended up winning. On the men's side Casey Jennings won in the final. I played with Nick first and we lost 15-9 to Phil and Casey. Then Casey and I lost 15-13 to Phil and Nick and Phil and I beat Nick and Casey 15-9 with me running to the net the whole time and Phil playing defense. In the finals Phil picked me and I ran to the net again. We lost 15-13. It was actually pretty fun and everyone had a good time.

The next morning I had to get up and catch a cab at 5:30am for a 6:50 flight to Kansas City. Kerri Walsh was flying with me and we went through Milwaukee on our way to KC. We got in around 8:30am and were picked up by the local promoter. She took us to the hotel and Kerri had to go do media stuff. I tried to sleep but was unsuccessful. I had to go do an interview with FOX at 12:30 so was picked up at noon. Everyone went over to the gym around 3:30 to eat and get ready. We had a big meet and greet followed by a clinic. The women played first and Diane Denecochea won. On the men's side Phil won all 3 games and he again played defense with everyone. Instead of having a final for the men and women we played co-ed 4's like we did in Brazil. Everyone had a blast and the fan's loved it. We played on a women's net though and the men passed, set and played defense. The women hit and blocked. We all had a lot of fun and all the fans I spoke to said they liked it better than the 2 on 2.

The next day Kerri and I had to get up to catch a cab at 4:30 in order to get to our flight at 5:45. We again flew through Milwaukee and got into Indy aroun 9:30. We grabbed a cab to the hotel and this time I was so exhausted I pretty much passed out for about 3 hours. I got up and did 30 minutes of running on the treadmill to shake off the lethargy and stretched out for a bit. Then we went to the gym for round 3. We did several meet and greets as well as a clinic before we played. The women went first and Diane and EY tied for first but Diane won the coin toss to decide who was declared the winner. On the men's side Casey won. He and Nick defeated Phil and I in the first game and then he won with Phil and with me. We again played 4's to end the night but had the men hit and block this time. It was a bit unfair as Phil is just to big at the net for Nick and I to stop him. It was still fun though. We went out for a very late dinner but it was at a nice steakhouse and was very good. Went to bed late and got up this morning at 5am to catch a 6:40 flight to Denver. And now I have been sitting in Denver for almost 4 hours waiting for my connection to SB. Hopefully it will be smooth and I will be home in about 4 hours. Sleep has been pretty minimal on this trip. I didn't realize what a grind it would be and I get to do it again all next week. If you are in Minneapolis, Omaha or Cedar Falls I hope I see you next week.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Grand Rapids HWN

Arrived in GR yesterday afternoon with Phil and Nick. As expected it was a bit of a weather shock going from Brazil to SB to GR. About a 70 to 90 degree difference. Actually feel kind of fortunate since last week the midwest was well below 0 degrees. This is almost balmy in comparison.

We play tonight. I play Casey, then Nick and then Phil. I am trying to convince the AVP to do a 4 person co-ed event after we play. It is what we did in Brazil and it was a blast. Can do either with men hitting and blocking or women hitting and blocking. Hopefully I can get them to do it. I think the other players would go for it. I know Phil and EY want to do it.

I will let you know how it goes tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Hot to Cold

Brazil was pretty darn nice. I had a good time, the americans won all our games, and the weather was nice. All of our flights went according to plan. Don't have any complaints frankly.

Now I get to go to the frigid midwest. From 70 degrees as the low temperature in Sao Paolo to maybe 40 degrees at best as the high temperature in Kansas City. Little bit of an extreme weather shift but it will be fun I am sure. I am looking forward to seeing folks in Grand Rapids, Kansas City and Indy.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

4X4 Match

Just finished the 4x4 match today. Phil, EY, Nicole and I defeated Ricardo, Emmanuel, Talita and Renata in 3 games. The first game was close until midway when they made some errors and we started to pull away. Our strategy was for Phil and I to serve tough jumpers and EY and Nicole to serve short balls. Their strategy was to serve me short and deep on the right side and try to keep the ball on the right side of the court and away from Phil. We won that game 21-17. The second game they switched strategies and begin serving Phil short and deep. It worked well and they won 21-17. The third game was a battle. We went up 6-4 when I stuffed Ricardo. They came back strong though on some errors and errant passes. They went up 12-9 before we sided out. Then EY served a net dribbler for an ace which got us going. The next play I believe Phil stuffed a ball to tie it up at 12. They sided out and we switched sides. Then we sided out on an angle hit by me. They were all over Phil and were late in blocking me. They followed with a sideout by Ricardo. They were now serving for match at 14-13. Phil got a 2 set in the middle with both Ricardo and Emmanuel blocking. He got stuffed but EY made a great cover and Phil put the next ball away. The next play they made an error for us to go up the match point. Both teams sided out with shots on the next 2 plays. We sided out for 17-16 and then Phil and I blocked Ricardo. Phil got the block but we were both blocking and that was game 18-16.

Have to say it was really an exciting match. The crowd was pretty good and very into the match. All in all I had a good time down here in Sao Paolo. We fly out tonight around midnight and get home midday Monday.

Saturday, January 17, 2009


Actually have some time to kill here in Brazil so i can blog away. Phil and I travelled down south to Sao Paulo on Thursday. Flew from SB to LA to Atlanta and then Sao Paulo getting here on Friday morning. Long flight. Did some media yesterday and slept for almost 12 hours that night. This morning we played Ricardo and Emannuel in a match and EY and Nicole played Talita and Renata in a match. It went good for the Americans. Phil and I won 21-19 and 21-15. EY and Nicole won 21-14 and 23-21. Tomorrow we play 4 on 4, America vs. Brazil. Not real sure what to expect. I figure we will have fun though.

I leave here tomorrow night and get home Monday afternoon. Then I take off for the HWN events next weekend in Grand Rapids, Kansas City, and Indianapolis on Wend. morning. Long 10 days or so of travelling for me. I will keep you posted.