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Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Monday, August 25, 2008
Sunday, August 24, 2008
The first set was clearly dominated by Brazil whose attackers delivered incredible spikes, leaving the US team on the defensive. Brazil also blocked much more intuitively than US, succesfully reading the setter. Brazil took the first set 25-15.
In the second set, USA executed much better and also started putting up blocks of their own. They won easily, 25-18.
Set 3 went to Brazil. I noticed that the US team made many service errors - this is one of their weaknesses and is especially important given rally scoring. Brazil won 25-13.
Set 4 was the closest, with each team taking turns with the lead. However, towards the end, Brazil suddenly won 4 points in a row, winning the match in a matter of minutes (25-21). In my opinion, the US team relied too heavily on one person --Logan Tom. They set her for the last 3 points, and the Brazilians anticipated it each time, putting up a 3 person block, and winning the point off the block. If you look at the stats, the leading scorers in women's volleyball during the Olympics were Logan Tom (USA), Wang Yimei (China), and a Cuban player, you can see that each of these semifinal teams had one superstar attacker. Brazil, on the other hand, is much better at setting all of their players --which also makes them harder to block. I think the US team had it in them to take it to 5, but those last points closed the opportunity.
I found the coaching styles of the two teams to be completely opposite. Lang Ping sits back in her chair, says nothing, and frowns occasionally. The Brazilian coach paces the sidelines, gesturing wildly, and actively coaches his team. He looks like he may have a seizure at any moment. When his team won, he was intensely emotional and worked the crowd to a frenzy during their victory lap.
It was an exciting game and we were able to see the medal ceremony with China, US, and Brazil.
Then, today, we saw the men's indoor volleyball final match --also USA v Brazil. We saw the first game, where Brazil was leading by a large margin. They were putting up ridiculous blocks and looked to be in their element. We left for lunch, and caught the last two points of the match on the bus. Looks like USA came back and won sets 2, 3, and 4, vindicating the women's team.
one cm over the record. He missed the first attempt and took a scratch on the second to give himself and extra 5 minutes to prepare. The atmosphere was electric and everyone was filled with anticipation. The third jump came and he cleared it! New Olympic record and we were there to witness it!
We also saw the final two rounds of the men's decathlon. American Bryan Clay came in leading by a good margin and maintained it to take the gold! In fact, he was so far ahead going into the 1500m run that he finished last and still took the gold. Congratulations Bryan!
The USA women long jumpers did not deliver any medals, and Brazil took the gold by 1cm over Russia with 7.04.