Chasing Gold: The Olympic Experience
Aug. 4, 2012
It wasn’t meant to be. The Italians got us 21-17, 21-19 by playing a great match. They played great defense and won most of the rallies. Tough to win when the opponent does that. A reporter asked me “What went wrong?” My answer was simply “Nothing went wrong. The Italians played a great match.”
We never could get anything going. Even though we tied late in the second set, it really was camouflage.
Let me tell you why you play the games: The Italians were 1-2 in pool play losing to a non-qualifier and had to play a match the night before to play themselves into the tournament. We were 3-0. They beat us.
We would have been the first men’s beach volleyball team to repeat as gold medalists and as one of the top teams in the game, everyone comes at you. And, if you look back over the year we played inconsistently. Not the way you want to play coming to the Games.
Phil put it in perspective in front of the press: “It’s a little bit different when you win: It takes about a month for it to sink in. When you lose, it smacks you right in the face the second the ball hits the sand.”
I’ve been working with Todd and Phil since 2005. World champions in 2007, Olympic gold in 2008, 34-match win streak in 2009 and setting an FIVB World Tour record with nine titles in one season in 2010. Through all their success, I am honored that they trusted my thoughts on their training. It is truly a special thing when athletes and their coach are a unit.
It is an incredible experience to be around elite level athletes, the best in the world. Literally impossible to find that anywhere but at the Games. Just the like the last time, I will come home with new thoughts about what it takes to be a champion.
It will be great to get home and see Jen and the boys who I’m sure will meet me running full speed at the airport. I miss them terribly. And, any married coach will tell you that without supportive spouse things like this are impossible. One thing is for sure - when I get home my coaching celebrity from London will be fleeting. I’ll be cleaning the cat box saying, “Honey, you know I was on the U.S. Olympic Team.”