Saturday, July 21, 2012

2012 Summer Olympics Preview - Volleyball

Greetings everyone. You may or may not know me but I am Cory from the Three Rivers Burgh Blog and just like in 2010 for the Winter Olympics I am back to team up with Ian for the 2012 Summer Olympics preview. In the summer games we have 31 different events and over the week we are going to be preview every single one of them. I am going to drop some knowledge today about the volleyball aspect of the Olympics with a preview of beach volleyball and indoor volleyball. Ian dropped some information on tennis earlier in the day so make sure you go and check that out and make sure you check back every day to get your info on everything Olympics.


Beach Volleyball

There are a few things that go on at beaches during the summer when people go on vacation. There are football flying round and baseball's being thrown and there is also volleyball being played if there is any resemblance of a net around. It is fun to do while you are out by the ocean with a bunch of people that just like to mess around and have fun. The Olympics tries to do this even though there will be no ocean and this type will have the prize of a gold medal for the duo that wins it all. Also in the Olympics I would venture to guess that the teams that are out on the "beach" are going to go all out and not care if they get some sand down their top or pants. Also it is important to note that while most people associate beach volleyball with women there are also men's teams and they both will be competing at the 2012 Olympics.

How it works: Unlike indoor volleyball the beach form is played with one two members on a team and unlike the indoor game those two players have to pretty much excel at every part of the game if the team is going to be successful. Because there are only two players and there is a lot of ground to cover and communication is of the utmost importance in these games. On both the men's and women's side there will be 24 teams that are broken down as such:

Men's: Brazil (2 teams), Germany (2), Latvia (2), Switzerland (2), and USA (2), Austria, Canada, China, Czech Republic, Great Britain, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Russia, Spain, South Africa, and Venuzuela.

Women's: Australia (2), Brazil (2), Czech Republic (2), Germany (2), Netherlands (2), Russia (2), USA (2), Argentina, Austria, Canada, China, Great Britain, Greece, Italy, Mauritius, Spain, and Switzerland.

The competition starts in pool play where the group of 24 teams (in each gender) get broken into six pools of four teams each. In the group they will play a round-robin schedule where you get two points for a win, one point for a loss and zero points if a team forfeits. At the end of pool play the top two teams move on to play in a single elimination bracket where a loser will only play in the bronze medal game. Although taking the top two from each pool will only give you 12 teams the two best third place teams will move on also while the final two spots are awarded when the rest of the third and fourth place pool teams play single elimination games to earn that spot.

The competition is best two-of-three sets with the first two sets being played to 21 points via rally scoring and if a third set is needed they play to 15. The winning team must win by two and play will go on till a team wins by two. So, hypothetically speaking the final score of any game could be 100-98 if teams traded points that long and no team was ever up by two until the final point.

The USA Chances: The USA tandem of Todd Rogers and Phil Dalhausser are the defending champions and should figure as the favorites. The USA is in a tie with Brazil for the most medals all-time in beach volleyball with four but they hold the gold medal advantage with a 3-1 margin. Brazil will be the main competition for the men at London. On the women's side the pair of Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh are back-to-back gold medal winners and should be a favorite going into 2012. The USA has three all-time medals in beach volleyball with Brazil having five total but only one gold medal. Brazil and China will give May-Treanor and Walsh a run for their money this year but I am gonna go with the USA in this one (why wouldn't I?).

Indoor Volleyball

While most people associate beach volleyball as more of a relaxed sport that you do with your buds indoor volleyball is much more competitive than that on the indoor court. This is what almost everyone thinks of when you talk about volleyball and it is more recognizable since it is a NCAA sport that most anyone that goes to college goes to watch at night when their girlfriend or that one hot girl you want to ask out plays. Although the girls dress in tight spandex this is a pretty demanding sport that requires a good bit of athleticism to excel at. Although it is more specialized than beach volleyball it is still no joke.

How it works: There are half as many indoor volleyball teams as their are beach teams which translates into 12 teams for each gender playing in London. Here is a breakdown of the teams that will be competing for gold:

Men: Great Britain, Russia, Poland, Brazil, Tunisia, United States, Italy, Argentina, Serbia, Australia, Bulgaria and Germany.

Women: Great Britain, Italy, United States, China, Algeria, Dominican Republic, Turkey, Brazil, Russia, South Korea, Serbia and Japan

There are 12 players on a team and six players are able to be on the court at the same time. The 12 teams are broke up into two groups where each team will play a full round-robin schedule. Just like in beach volleyball you get two points for a win, one point for a loss and zero points for a forfeit. After the end of round-robin play the top four teams move on to an single elimination bracket with the only game to take place between teams that lose would be for the bronze medal. Unlike the beach volleyball game the indoor game is a best-of-five set game. The first four sets are played to 25 with rally scoring where you have to win by two. If it makes it to a fifth set then they will play that set to 15.

The USA Chances: On the men's side the USSR holds the top medal count with six including three gold medals but since they don't count anymore the USA is up top with four medals with three golds. Brazil and Italy also have four total medals with Brazil holding two golds. The USA men shouldn't be the favorite this year but might be able to bring home a medal. They are ranked fifth in the world and will have to overcome Brazil and Russia who hold the top two spots in the world. On the women's side the USSR still has the medal count lead with seven (four golds) followed by Japan and China. The USA is tied with Brazil with three medals but has yet to ever win a gold in Olympic competition. This year might be a little different as the USA enters as the top team in the world followed by Brazil and China who will make a run at gold.

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