US beach player Patterson says he didn't blow off handshake

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) American beach volleyball player Casey Patterson wants to make it clear that he didn't blow off the post-match handshakes after he and Jake Gibb were eliminated from the Olympics.

Patterson told The Associated Press that he congratulated Spain in the media mix zone.

''I just wanted to make sure everyone knew that was all taken care of,'' Patterson said on Thursday, a day after the loss to Spain dropped the Americans to 1-2 in pool play and knocked them out later on a tiebreaker. ''We knew we were potentially out of the Olympics, so I went and sat down and shook their hands later.''

Patterson said it's not uncommon for players to forego the post-match handshake under the net after a big match, when one team is celebrating and the other just wants to get out of there. He said he had never failed to catch up with the winner later to congratulate them, though.

''We're all really good friends, too,'' he said, adding that the protocol is to leave the sand within 90 seconds. ''A lot of times when you win a big match, you yell and scream. By that time the other team has left. We always take care of it either on the way out or later.''

Patterson made the comments in a telephone interview on Thursday, a day after he walked through the mix zone without talking to reporters. The Olympic rookie also received a yellow card in the match for a prolonged argument with the referee.

''I think I bolted out of there a little frustrated with how it all went down,'' he said.

Gibb, a three-time Olympian, did talk to reporters, but said it was hard to concentrate on questions when he was preoccupied with whether they still had a chance to remain in the Rio Games.

The Americans were eliminated later in the day. They finished tied with Austria, which scored 145 points and allowed 140; the Americans scored 125 and gave up 126.

A day later, Patterson said he was able to appreciate the experience.

And he said he would do what he could to return in 2020.

''I've got the fever, the virus of the Olympics. I see how special and cool it is,'' he said. ''Making the Olympics is such a good, special part of my life, and to be able to say I'm an Olympian is something I'm proud of.

''I feel like I've gained so many good friends. Our families have become so close. I think that's the most valuable thing you can ask for anyway,'' Patterson said. ''That's sort of our medal, the relationships we've built. That's how I've put it to myself.''

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