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Czech beach volleyball stars Kiki & Maki answer fan questions

Kristyna 'Kiki' Kolocova (left) and Marketa 'Maki' Slukova

Prague, Czech Republic, May 26, 2014 – Prague hosted four FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour events before, but they were all men’s Opens. This year the organizers staged a women’s event for the first time, in honour of the Czech top team Kristyna Kolocova and Marketa Slukova, better known as Kiki and Maki in their home country.

For the 26- and 25-year old it felt like a huge responsibility to play in front of their home fans in the city they live in. In the end, everything worked out for them on one hundred percent. The Czech girls ended up on the podium with gold around their necks.

It was the first medal for the Czech pair, who made it to the final four only once before. But at the Berlin Grand Slam last year they missed out of the podium and finished fourth.

Kiki and Maki have been playing together on the World Tour since 2009. In 2012 they qualified for the London Olympic Games, where they finished 5th. 

Last week, during the Prague Open, fans on FIVB's Beach Volleyball World Tour Twitter account @FIVBWorldTour posted their questions for the Czech duo. This is how they answered.

Q1: How do you look back on this tournament, apart from winning the gold?
Marketa: It was great that the weather was nice. We are also glad that people like this sport, came to watch our games. It is really a different match on centre court with their support.

Q2: Is playing at home an advantage?
The first game in the main draw was really hard for us, because we didn´t know what to expect from each other, what to expect from the centre court, and also what to expect from spectators. After we won the first game, we got used to it. The fans were really great. I did not even think it was stressfull. Maybe a little, you can get nervous about making mistakes in front of so many people. Fortunately, there was no game in which we played extremely bad.

Q3: What rituals do you have, if any? Do you have any good luck charms?
Marketa: The only thing I have is a ring on a chain, but we don´t have anything together.
Kristyna: This year we have actually been given two stuffed animals with signs on each of them saying Kiki and Maki. Also recently, my boyfriend gave me a stuffed hippo which I carry with me on our trips. However, these are the new things, we do not have anything longstanding.
Marketa: Our ritual is our regime. When we are travelling, Kristyna always sets the alarm clock, she has been doing that for ten years (laughing)!
Kristyna: Everytime during our matches, we sit on the bench in the same order. I always sit closer to the table. This is one of the things that I really abide by.

Q4: How long have you been playing together?
One hundred years! No, I am kidding. We have been playing together since we were 17 years old. So this is our tenth year.

Q5: Do you miss the Czech Republic when you travel?
Marketa: Yes! We would like to have more home tournaments. Kristyna: We are always looking forward to come home from our trips.

Q6: How do you relax after tournaments?
We have Michaela Pachmanova, our own masseuse!
Kristyna: I like doing nothing. Massage, whirpool, sauna is also relaxing, but the best thing is to put my feet up, and do nothing. Moreover, I like to eat and sleep.
Marketa: I also like to do ordinary activities such as doing laundry, this is refreshingly normal if you imagine living out of your suitcase on the trips.

Q7: What are you going to do after your beach volleyball carrier?
Have kids! We know that beach volleyball will not ensure our future. We both have bachelor degrees, so we are aware about life after beach volleyball, but we are not able to say what job exactly.

Q8: Is there any place on earth that you would like to see?
Million places.
Marketa: For me, it would be New Zealand or Australia for example.
: I would like to travel more across the United States. I have only been in LA, so the East Coast would be nice.

Q9: Don´t you get on each other’s nerves?
Sometime yes, but really not so often. We enjoy being together.

Q10: Is there anything that bothers you about playing beach volleyball?
I don´t like waking up early for the early games, which no one watches. Sometimes we play at 08.00, with no spectators, but the set up is like this. And you have to get up at 05.00! I really enjoy games on centre courts like here in Prague, where the matches are scheduled for the fans, who can come to cheer us on.

Q11: What lifts your spirit after a lost game?
Simon! (Simon Nausch, their coach)
Marketa: After five years being together, he exactly knows how to make us feel better. He calms us down, encourages us and motivates us. In the case we are really down, he explains us that beach volleyball is still only a sport. He is our walking encyclopedia on solving problems. He always finds the right words to say.

Q12: How are the beach volleyball conditions here in the Czech Republic?
Year by year, the conditions get better. For us the conditions changed significantly after the London 2012 Olympic Games. Following our success there, I think, our sport got more attention. People keep telling us that young athletes started to attend their beach volleyball camps.

Q13: For many kids you have became a role model. Do you realize that?
We attended an award ceremony, for the best volleyball player of the year. We won the award for the best beach volleyball team, and Petr Benes from the Czech Beach Volleyball Association told us that the kids see us as their role models. This delights me, because people don’t realize this. Children always want our autographs, but if they also start to play volleyball because of us, that’s great.

Q14: When and how did you get your nicknames Kiki and Maki?
We went to the same elementary school which focused on volleyball. Kristyna and Marketa are long names and we were always together, so people started to shorten it. And after the 2012 Olympic Games almost everyone started to use it. Now, almost no one calls us Kristyna and Marketa anymore.

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