USA’s Dalhausser/Rogers, Gibb/Rosenthal friendly rivals
London, Great Britain, July 26, 2012 – Back home in Southern California, you might find them sharing a meal or a family bar-b-que or just working out on one of the many beaches along the coast, but USA’s Phil Dalhausser/Todd Rogers and Jake Gibb/Sean Rosenthal are both carrying their country’s flag seaking the same goal as 24 international teams, winning the beach volleyball men’s gold medal at the 2012 London Olympic Games. Starting Saturday and running through Aug. 9, the Olympic Games beach volleyball competition is being held in a purpose-built 15,000-seat sold-out stadium on the grounds of the iconic Horse Guards Parade and extending over into the peaceful beauty of St. James Park in central London.
Both teams are Olympians as USA’s Dalhausser/Rogers are the defending gold medalists from the 2008 Beijing Olympics where USA’s Gibb/Rosenthal finished fifth as well.
Dalhausser, 32, Rogers, 38, Gibb, 36, and Sean, 32, share a bond of friendship but an equally strong commitment to stand at the top of the podium. Yet, Wednesday night, without the roar of the crowd and minus the live television cameras everywhere, it looked like the four friends who also combine to become two of the top men’s beach volleyball teams in the world, are having a friendly pick-up game on the sands of a Southern California beach.
Only this time is was a planned (at least amongst themselves) ‘shirts and skins’ practice match under the glow of the stadium center court lights, the pensive gaze of the London eye protruding about Horse Guards Parade and the every-watchful vigilance of Big Ben keeping time with the American stars of the sand.
With no-one officially keeping score, but with coaches and trainers observing the sometimes heated, sometimes humorous by-play between the two teams, one thing became very obviously quickly once the stopped the comraderie of warm-ups. Both teams fully realize where they are and why there here in this quadrennial celebration of the world’s best athletes. They know they aren’t Southern California any more.
Leading the point standings in the 2012 FIVB Beach Volleyball SWATCH World Tour, USA’s Gibb/Rosenthal will be the first to take to the sand for real in the magnicificent purpose-built 15,000 stadium that rests in the shadow of legendary British Army commanders-in-chief memorial statues and the next door neighbor of No. 10 Downey Street, better known as the home of British Prime Minister David Cameron.
Launching the fifth Olympics that will feature beach volleyball as a medal sport, USA’s Gibb/Rosenthal, seeded fourth in these Olympic Games, will begin their quest on Saturday with their first pool play match at 10 p.m. against South Africa’s 21st seeded Freedom Chiya/Grant Goldschmidt.
USA’s Dalhausser/Rogers, will start their journey on Sunday with their first pool play match at 10 p.m. against Japan’s 23rd seeded Kentaro Asahi/Katsuhiro Shiratori with the world watching.
Both American teams qualified for the 2012 London Olympic Games through their results in the FIVB Beach Volleyball SWATCH World Tour, but with different paths. USA’s Dalhausser/Rogers played fewer times but met the required 12 appearances over the last two years. USA’s Gibb/Rosenthal, on the other hand, battled through a never-ending battle for the second spot for American men in the Olympics with compatriots Matt Fuerbringer/Nick Lucena that wasn’t decided until nearly the last match of the last qualifying event in Rome in mid-June.
Following are the pool assignments for this year’s beach volleyball competition at the Olympic Games:
2012 Olympic Games Beach Volleyball
2012 Olympic Games Beach Volleyball