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Zhang Xi living the California life to the fullest

 
Zhang Xi is back on court at the AVP Tour
Lausanne, Switzerland, May 11, 2017 – It has been four years since Zhang Xi bade a golden farewell to beach volleyball and the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour, but now she is returning to her best form in her second season competing in the AVP competition. 

The 31-year-old moved to California in 2016 three years after she and Chen Xu won gold at the Mazury 2013, FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships. They then rounded off their time together by winning gold at the Gstaad Grand Slam a week later. 

Since then she has completed her degree and after she moved to California she enrolled in an intensive English course, as well as coach volleyball and beach volleyball. 

“Southern California is the birthplace of beach volleyball,” Zhang Xi said. “If I want to get to know beach volleyball very well, I have to live here and talk to people who know beach volleyball and play with the best athletes.

Zhang Xi and Chen Xu were in tandem from 2006 until 2013 and in that time they won 14 World Tour gold medals and bronze at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. 

Since moving Stateside she has played in three AVP tournaments, most recently at the Huntingdon Beach Tournament where she played alongside US Olympian Nicole Branagh. She is certainly feeling inspired by playing in one of beach volleyball’s spiritual homes, despite the contrast to life China.

“We're so proud we can make the people like beach volleyball and enjoy our playing,” Zhang Xi said. “Beach volleyball got its start as a form of family fun at the beach in sunny, sandy places like southern California. But once it appeared for the first time at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, the world took notice, and the sport took off.

“We have some different traditional things. Chinese don't like the sunshine! That's why they like to bring the umbrella under the sun. But things are changing. Now, they like to wear the bikini on the court.”



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