Page 164-165 - YearBook_2008

Basic HTML Version

Rank
Teams
1
USA
2
BRAZIL
3
RUSSIA
4
ITALY
5
BULGARIA
CHINA
POLAND
SERBIA
9
GERMANY
VENEZUELA
11
EGYPT
JAPAN
2008
Final Standing
ces from Andre Heller and captain Giba. The Ameri-
cans could barely organize effective counterattacks
for their poor reception, surrendering the set 25-20.
U.S. wing spiker Clayton Stanley came to the rescue
in the second set with devastating serves and high-
jump spikes. Jumping out to an early 8-1 lead, David
Lee and William Priddy then launched a brilliant
wave of attacks to the Brazilian court to push the
score to 20-15.
Giba’s ace serves and spikes helped Brazil to draw as
close as 21-20. But it was Stanley again who scored
two points in a row to claim a set point at 24-21. An-
dre saved one set point with an ace serve, but Stanley
clinched the frame for the U.S. at 25-22 with a spike.
The Americans kept their winning momentum with
even better defense to take the third set 25-21.
The two sides fought closely in the fourth set before
a 20-20 draw, when Stanley broke the tie and hel-
ped the Americans to a 23-21 advantage with two
kill blocks. Ryan Millar’s spike added another point
to push it to 24-22.
Andre saved one match point with a spike, but Stan-
ley seized the victory for the U.S. with a spike.
“We should not see silver as a defeat,” said Brazil
head coach Bernardo Rezende. “The players worked
hard for eight years and we have won six World Lea-
gue and two World Championships, among other tit-
les. Right now we are frustrated. But we have to learn
from our mistakes and try to do better next time.”
The silver-medal performance marked the end of an
era for celebrated “Seleção” Anderson Rodrigues and
Gustavo Endres, who both retired after the match.
“We did our best during the tournament and we fou-
ght till the end but USA were better than us,” said
Anderson, who played for Brazil for eight years.
USA upset 2004 Athens Olympic champions and
World No. 1 Brazil 3-1 to win the gold medal in the
Men’s Olympic Volleyball Tournament for the first
time in 20 years.
The Americans won 20-25, 25-22, 25-21, 25-23 in
front of 13,000 spectators at Capital Indoor Stadium
in 2 hours, 5 minutes.
Three-time Olympic champion Russia retained the
bronze medal they won in Athens by beating Italy 25-
22, 25-19, 25-23 in the third-place match.
It was the third gold for the American men’s Volley-
ball players, who also topped the podium in Los Ange-
les in 1984 and in Seoul in 1988.
USA, which had recently been crowned FIVB World
League champions, proved their quality with a com-
bination of strength and delicacy, skill and bluff, and
individual energy and teamwork.
“It was a very difficult match, a very difficult environ-
ment. Our guys embraced it,” said USA head coach
Hugh McCutcheon. “Brazil seemed more comforta-
ble in the first set, but things changed in the second
set, and after that it was just two teams battling hard.
For us to be Olympic champions in the same year as
World League champions validates our goals, and it’s
a great achievement for us.”
Brazil, who also won Olympic gold in 1992 in Barce-
lona, dominated the opener with powerful serves and
an unyielding defense, thanks to stunning performan-
Teamwork
key to USA’s
golden victory
2008 Men’s Olympic Games Volleyball
2008 Men’s Olympic Games Volleyball
164
Olympic medalists Beijing 2008: Gold medal USA, silver medal Brazil, bronze medal Russia
165