Czechs bring curtain down on Cook’s career
Sydney 2000 gold medallist Natalie Cook salutes the London 2012 crowd after she ended her illustrious beach volleyball career after five Olympic Games|
London, Great Britain, August 1, 2012 – Czech duo Kristyna Kolocova and Marketa Slukova brought the curtain down on the career of Natalie Cook when they beat her and Tamsin Hinchley in three sets to leave the Australians winless at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Sydney 2000 gold medallist Cook was playing in her fifth Olympic Games, the first female beach volleyball player to reach that milestone, but losses to Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh and the Schwaiger sisters, Doris and Stefanie, meant that the match against the Czech was a must-win game. However, it was Kolocova and Slukova who finished the winners at Horse Guard’s Parade with a 21-16, 18-21, 15-11 victory.
“It has been an amazing journey and every Olympic Games is a different story,” Cook said. “This is the epic finish because London has embraced beach volleyball. I’m just proud to be an Australian Olympian.
“The Olympic Games are the greatest thing on Earth and I am privileged to have been a part of it. I just want to play more matches out there because it is so much fun.”
For the Czechs the win means they progress straight to the round of 16 after two wins in the pool stages.
“If we lost that match we’d be out of the group, so we had to win it,” Kolocova said. “We knew that they were getting better in the second set, but we knew we could come back in the third.”
In the other match in Pool C the Schwaiger sisters made history when they became the first team to take a set off May-Treanor and Walsh in 17 Olympic matches. They won the first set, but the Americans fought back in the second and won 17-21, 21-8, 15-10.
“It was probably not our best, but we stuck together through thick and thin,” May-Treanor said. “Austria are a tough team and this was a test for us. We are likely to be in the same situation and we know we can get out of it.”
“Now the fun begins,” Walsh said. “We have four more matches to the gold medal and that is out aim, so we will take it one match at a time.”
Brazilians going step by step
FIVB world champions Juliana Felisberta and Larissa Franca wrapped up their pool with three wins from three. Once again they bossed the match from start to finish and won 21-12, 21-18 against the Czech Republic's Lenka Hajeckova and Hana Klapalova.
"The gold medal is still far away,” Juliana said. “I think about it step by step as a final destination and I will enjoy the journey. We've been tested in all the matches. We still have to play hard and make it special each match. That's really important for us."
Russian pair Anastasia Vasina and Anna Vozakova beat Switzerland’s Nadine Zumkehr and Simone Kuhn to top Pool B. It was a do-or-die match for the Russian duo who knew a loss could have put them out of the Olympics.
"This game was very difficult for us,” Vasina said. “It was either ending up first or last in the pool. The pressure was huge.”
China advance with win
China’s Chen Xue and Zhang Xi made it through to the knockout rounds, but won’t top their pool despite recording a second win of the Olympics. The number two seeds took 40 minutes to beat Greece’s Vasiliki Arvaniti and Maria Tsiartsiani, 21-17, 21-16, but finished behind Vasina and Vozakova in their pool.
“We have practiced a lot during the past four years and we also have come together more as a team,” Xue said. “Four years ago we were the second team. This year we are the only Chinese team and there is a lot more pressure on us. But we will try to relieve some of this pressure on the court.”
Ilka Semmler and Katrin Holtwick wrapped up their second win of the tournament with a 21-11, 21-10 win against Mauritius’ Elodie Li Yuk Lo and Natacha Rigobert. It means they will progress to the elimination rounds after finishing second in their pool behind Juliana and Larissa.
“Our aim was to come first or second in this pool,” Semmler said. “We reached this and this is great for us. We now wait to see who we play next and study their form.”
In London the teams have been split equally into six pools of and the teams play each other once in their group. The top two advance to the single-elimination knockout phase that begins on August 3 along with the two best third-placed teams. The remaining four third-place teams will then compete in playoff matches to determine which pairs will fill the final two places in the 16-team elimination bracket’s first round.
Sixteen teams qualified for the Games through the Olympic Ranking which is based primarily on world tour standings. Five more joined as winners of the AVC, CAVB, CEV, CSV and NORCECA Continental Cup Finals, and two from the World Cup Olympic Qualification Tournament. Great Britain was granted a berth as hosts.
The sold-out beach volleyball competition at the London 2012 Olympic Games is being held through Aug. 9 in a purpose-built 15,000-seat stadium on the grounds of Horse Guards Parade in central London. For current information, visit www.fivb.org.
Team Ranking by Skill
Rank Team NOC Aces
1 Zhang/Xue CHN 15
2 Kunh/Zumkehr SUI 13
2 Vasina/Vozakova RUS 13
Rank Team NOC Blocks
1 Vasina/Vozakova RUS 18
2 Talita/Antonelli BRA 11
2 May-Treanor/Walsh USA 11
Rank Team NOC Attack %
1 Liliana/Baquerizo ESP 65
2 Talita/Antonelli BRA 60
3 Larissa/Juliana BRA 57
3 Kessy/Ross USA 57
Rank Team NOC Digs
1 Cook/Hinchley AUS 78
2 May-Treanor/Walsh USA 77
3 Schwaiger/Schwaiger RUS 58
Player Ranking by Skill
Rank Player NOC Points
1 Vozakova RUS 75
2 Zhang CHN 73
3 Cook AUS 66
Rank Player NOC Aces
1 Xue CHN 11
2 Vozakova RUS 9
3 Arvaniti GRE 8
3 Kuhn SUI 8
Rank Player NOC Serve km/h
1 Holtwick GER 82
2 Ross USA 81
3 Goller GER 79
Rank Player NOC Blocks
1 Vasina RUS 18
2 Talita BRA 11
3 Walsh USA 11
Rank Player NOC Attack %
1 Xue CHN 68
2 Baquerizo ESP 67
3 Juliana BRA 65
Rank Player NOC Digs
1 Cook AUS 66
2 Vozakova RUS 53
3 May-Treanor USA 50
London 2012 Olympic Games - Set, Match Duration Bests and Breakdown
Game 1 22 Elsa Baquerizo/Liliana Fernandez def. Ana Gallay/Virginia Zonta 22-20, 21-16 (0:39), 7/31
Game 2 31 Maria Antonelli/Talita Rocha def. Sara Goller/Laura Ludwig 21-19, 29-31, 15-13 (1:05), 7/31
Game 3 16 Anastasia Vasina/Anna Vozakova def. Chen Xue/Xi Zhang 18-21, 21-14, 16-14 (0:53), 7/28
2-game match 79 Misty May-Treanor/Kerri Walsh def. Nat Cook/Tamsin Hinchley 21-18, 21-19 (0:39), 7/28
2-game match 79 Elsa Baquerizo/Liliana Fernandez def. Ana Gallay/Virginia Zonta 22-20, 21-16 (0:39), 7/31
3- game match 128 Maria Antonelli/Talita Rocha def. Sara Goller/Laura Ludwig 21-19, 29-31, 15-13 (1:05), 7/31
Game 1 5 Juliana Silva/Larissa Franca def. Elodie Li Yuk Lo/Natacha Rigobert 21-5, 21-10 (0:28), 7/28
Game 2 8 Misty May-Treanor/Kerri Walsh def. Doris Schwaiger/Stefanie Schwaiger 17-21, 21-8, 15-10 (0:47), 8/1
Game 3 8 Greta Cicolari/Marta Menegatti def. Ekaterina Khomyakova/Evgeniya Ukolova 17-21, 21-18, 15-8 (0:55), 7/29
Game 3 8 Sara Goller/Laura Ludwig def. Louise Bawden/Becchara Palmer 21-18, 19-21, 15-8 (0:53), 7/29
Game 3 8 Chen Xue/Xi Zhang def. Simone Kuhn/Nadine Zumkehr 21-18, 16-21, 15-8 (0:54), 7/30
Game 3 8 Jennifer Kessy/April Ross def. Sanne Keizer/Marleen Van Iersel 21-15, 12-21, 15-8 (0:56), 7/31
2-game match 57 Juliana Silva/Larissa Franca def. Elodie Li Yuk Lo/Natacha Rigobert 21-5, 21-10 (0:28), 7/28
3-game match 92 Jennifer Kessy/April Ross def. Sanne Keizer/Marleen Van Iersel 21-15, 12-21, 15-8 (0:56), 7/31
3-game match 92 Misty May-Treanor/Kerri Walsh def. Doris Schwaiger/Stefanie Schwaiger 17-21, 21-8, 15-10 (0:47), 8/1
2-game match 0:41 Juliana Silva/Larissa Franca def. Katrin Holtwick/Ilka Semmler 21-18, 21-13 (0:41), 7/30
3-game match 1:09 Ekaterina Khomyakova/Evgeniya Ukolova def. Marie-Andree Lessard/Annie Martin 21-18, 28-30, 15-13 (1:09), 7/31
2-game match 0:28 Juliana Silva/Larissa Franca def. Elodie Li Yuk Lo/Natacha Rigobert 21-5, 21-10 (0:28), 7/28
2-game match 0:28 Lenka Hajeckova/Hana Klapalova def. Elodie Li Yuk Lo/Natacha Rigobert 21-10, 21-11 (0:28), 7/30
2-game match 0:28 Katrin Holtwick/Ilka Semmler def. Elodie Li Yuk Lo/Natacha Rigobert 21-11, 21-10 (0:28), 8/1
3-game match 0:47 Kristyna Kolocova/Marketa Slukova def. Doris Schwaiger/Stefanie Schwaiger 10-21, 21-13, 15-13 (0:47), 7/28
3-game match 0:47 Misty May-Treanor/Kerri Walsh def. Doris Schwaiger/Stefanie Schwaiger 17-21, 21-8, 15-10 (0:47), 8/1
Two Set Matches Three Set Matches
Total Matches Matches Seed Break Avg. Time Matches Seed Break Won 1st set Won 2nd set Avg. Time
30 15 2 35 min 15 3 7 8 54