BEIJING --Women's volleyball in China has long been a hot ticket. The sport is regularly featured on Chinese television and the national team athletes here are household names. Chinese team captain
That set up a charged atmosphere Monday at the Capital Indoor Gymnasium as the U.S. women's volleyball team met Cuba in Pool A of the Olympic round robin tournament."China isn't even competing [this afternoon] but the gym is full," said U.S. middle blocker and four-time Olympian
The play was closer than the final score indicates, but the Cubans swept the Americans (25-15, 26-24, 25-17) with fast serves, solid blocks and sweeping kills. Still, if the U.S. can defeat Venezuela on Wednesday, the team is almost assured a place in the eight-team elimination round. "I feel as though we didn't play USA volleyball today," said backup libero
USA Volleyball has been on an emotional roller coaster since Saturday, when players learned of the brutal knife attack on the parents of 2004 Olympian
The mostly Chinese crowd at the arena have supported the U.S. athletes ever since they got off the plane in Beijing, no doubt in part because of Lang Ping's celebrity. It's impossible to gauge how much the Bachman's story has touched Chinese fans because the U.S. women were always going to be a crowd favorite here. But to be inside Capital Indoor Gymnasium today was to see women's professional sport played, and supported, at the highest level.
Along with matches against Venezuela and Poland (August 17), the U.S.(ranked No. 4 in the world) will meet China (No. 7) on August 15. While U.S. setter