Chasing Gold: The Olympic Experience
July 30, 2012
Bob Alejo, NC State's assistant athletic director for strength and conditioning, is in London for the Olympics. He'll be blogging about his Games experience. Coach Alejo is there to assist defending beach volleyball gold medalists, Phil Dalhausser and Todd Rogers, in their attempt to win it again.
Monday July 30th
After four years of waiting, our first match of the 2012 Olympiad was played and we defeated Japan 21-15, 21-16; avoiding the 2008-like start of being swept by a lowered ranked team (Latvia was ranked 23rd going into Beijing) in the opening match . We did start a little slow, but in the end we played well and didn't really encounter too much trouble. I have to admit, I did not feel like we were going to be in trouble at any time. In Beijing, I kept thinking "We're OK. We will pick it up." And of course that never happened. I am pretty confident here as we go through pool play.
We checked in at the front desk of the venue at about 8:15 p.m. or so and sat in the lounge until we headed over to the practice court at 9 p.m. Dinner was quiet, but not too bad. Sitting in the lounge, Phil was talkative, but Todd seemed a little pensive. It wasn't until after the match in the post-match interview area that I heard Todd tell the reporters he was a bit nervous prior to the match. I say that's a good thing. Here's a guy that might be the most respected player mentally and technically worldwide and still the game means enough to him to be a little anxious.
We had a good warm-up and they pulled us out to take us to the main court at 9:47 p.m. Yes, exactly 9:47 as the FIVB officials stated. We walked in and it was great energy, the place was packed. There has been a little buzz around about vacant seats at different venues during competition, but I couldn't see anywhere we were. There was a good American showing in the stands, so the support was there as well.
As I had mentioned earlier, we were off to the weight room after the media. First exercise started at 12 a.m. I was a little tired at that point, but the guys were still "hummin" from the match. It was a great workout that lasted about 45 minutes. Dinner began at 1 a.m. and as has been the case, very healthy. The USOC put one of their nutritionists in charge of our food at the hotel. She connected with the chefs here and planned out our menus. A PhD, RD who has done a great job with breakfast, lunch and dinner and snacks.
Practice tonight at 7 p.m. Up next is Spain tomorrow night at 9 p.m.