When we were competing in the Rome Grand Slam just over a month ago I visited the Coliseum. It had been a dream of mine for a long time as I view it as the origination of the spectacle of sport. Although people died back then, it was about the show, pleasing thousands of people with bravery, action and athleticism inspired by the will of the gladiators to survive. Luckily for me my life is not on the line here in London, however, while at the Coliseum I merged the two stadiums in my mind. The roar of the crowd after a powerful attack, the gasps after a brilliant dig or the fear as a lion was added to the mix (follow my Latvian friend Alexander “Lion King” @samoilovs to understand). People came from far and wide to catch the blood & action in the Coliseum and now in the 21st century people are doing the same in London to experience the power, finesse, athleticism and entertainment only the top beach volleyball athletes in the world can offer. At the Coliseum I breathed in the summer air with my eyes shut, chest up and took in the generations of epic battles to bring with me to London.
We had trained a few times on the side courts without even viewing center court. Finally our main court orientation came and we entered the venue. We didn’t come through the tunnel as I had imagined but the court was legendary regardless. Slow rising, the seats went up into what felt like the skyline. The massive HD screens look like 32 inch monitors and Horse Guards Parade rose up out of one side of the venue. The sand was deep and perfectly manicured. The lines were purple and the net was strung immaculately. We trained hard and worked for our replicated a many game situations as possible. Confident, poised and putting extra attention into what was in our control we had a great intro to the court. We are ready for the Brits on Saturday and ready to take on our pool.
Now we will play some games against Latvia and Russia to fire up our competitive side. These games will be about giving it our all and leaving it all out on the court. We are seen as underdogs but we know what we are capable of. Josh and I have what it takes to make top 10 in this tournament and from there on it will come down to heart and execution. Like the USA team did in Australia in 2000, we will grind through every game with no expectation while committing 100% to each point until there are no more points to be played. #giveyoureverything