Canadian twins "impressed and inspired" by Bach’s attendance
Nanjing, China, August 19, 2014 - After winning their third Beach Volleyball match in three days, the Canadian twins of Megan and Nicole McNamara were both “impressed and inspired” by the appearance of International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach at the Nanjing YOG Sports Park Tuesday afternoon.
“That’s pretty neat,” said Nicole about Dr. Bach’s visit to the venue and appearance on the sand between the first and second set of the Canadians’ 2-1 (21-19, 14-21 and 15-9) victory in 39 minutes over Tina Graudina and Anastasija Kravcenoka of Latvia.
“Obviously, we did not play well in the second set after the 10-minute break in play,” Nicole offered, “but that (Dr. Bach’s visit) was not the reason we lost the set. I cannot speak for all the players, but it impressive that he (Dr. Bach) would take the time to watch us play. It is inspiring that individuals like Dr. Bach support our sport.”
In speaking with FIVB young reporter Seth Rubinroit when walking of the sand after the stoppage in play, Dr. Bach said Beach Volleyball “is a very modern sport. It is a very easy-going sport. You can see how much the youth like it.”
During Dr. Bach’s appearance at the center court of the venue, the IOC president was presented an autographed official “Mikasa” Beach Volleyball by athletes from China, Poland and the United States along with FIVB delegate Marco “Tullio” Teixeira.
Following the “Mikasa” presentation, the Canadian twins joined Graudina and Kravcenoka for a “selfie” with Dr. Bach. “That will be something for us and the Latvians to remember,” said Nicole. “This is the biggest event of our lives and to be a part of the center court presentation with the IOC president will be one of memorable moments from the Games.”
With Beach Volleyball being one of the most covered sports in both the Summer and Youth Olympics, one veteran reporter said that the McNamara’s “blonde hair, beautiful eyes, attractive smiles and out-going personalities make them the face of the sport. It is no wonder that the twins are crowded by the Chinese volunteers for photographs following each of their matches.”
Nicole said she has been “surprised by the popularity. It is our first time that we have visited China. We can’t help being touched by their zeal of the Chinese. It is special and very memorable for us and all the players.”
During post-match interviews with reporters, Megan said “their bond as siblings helped them work together on the court. I’d say we have an advantage because we’ve played together for four years and we’re so comfortable with each other; we really play well together.”
The twins were initially introduced to Beach Volleyball during a vacation in Mexico. “It was kind of a fluke,” said Nicole. “We were on vacation in Mexico and we just noticed a beach volleyball court and started to play. We came home, signed up, and it all came from that.”
Watching the twins play Tuesday were their mother Kristina McNamara. “I hope they devote themselves into each match, enjoy each match and be happy whatever the outcome,” said mom. “My husband (Sean) and I are thrilled they are playing the sport they love. We’re extremely proud of them and their biggest fans.”
The McNamaras, who will head to Hawai’i after the Youth Olympics to participate in a high school Volleyball tournament, lead Pool A in the women’s Nanjing competition with a 3-0 match mark. The twins end group play with matches against Yekaterina Lassyuta/Anna Pimenova of Kazakhstan and Irene Enzo/Michela Lantignotti of Italy.
A win Thursday over Lassyuta and Pimenova coupled with the Latvians victory over Enzo and Lantignotti the same day would clinch the Pool A title for the McNamaras. The top teams from each of the six pools in the Beach Volleyball competition will receive a first-round “bye” when single-elimination play starts Sunday along with the top two second-place finishers based on point ratio.