USA Volleyball’s response to COVID-19 and guidelines toward Return to Play.

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USA Volleyball’s response to COVID-19 and guidelines toward Return to Play.

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The Oracles of Volleyball … a veritable who’s who of volleyball greats, including Misty May-Treanor, Lloy Ball, Holly McPeak, Nicole Davis, Kent Steffes, Kim Oden, Scott Fortune, Tayyiba Haneef-Park, Bob Ctvrtlik, Dain Blanton, Ryan Millar, Eric Fonoimoana, Gabe Gardner, Todd Rogers, and Danielle Scott-Arruda … commenting on the Rio Olympic Games with their legendary insight.

What are your thoughts on these final two bronze medal matches and the Games as a whole?

Scott Fortune 
U.S. Olympian, indoor (1988, 1992, 1996)
Olympic gold medalist, indoor, 1988; Olympic bronze medalist, indoor 1992

The sport of volleyball truly shined in Rio, a country where the sport is huge.  As expected going into the Games, parity was evident and the fans weren’t let down with great matches.

Very proud of both USA Indoor teams to find the resolve to win bronze medals and reach the podium. Both teams were only one play away from the gold medal match and left it all on the court.

The same can be said for the top beach teams and the will of Kerri and April to win the bronze. Phil and Nick‘s only lost came to the gold medalist in the quarterfinals, an unfortunate crossover.

USA Volleyball continues to shine as the top program in the world with three medals in the four disciplines. Great job by the players, the coaches, and all the support from everyone at USA Volleyball to provide excellence. Proud to be part of the movement to continue to grow the game and look forward to the next generation of USA Olympic volleyball athletes in the pipeline.

Holly McPeak
U.S. Olympian, beach (1996, 2000, 2004)
Olympic bronze medalist, 2004

Pretty fantastic performance by our USA men being down in the match, backs against the wall in third set and pulling off the victory! Sounds familiar…

USA men and women indoor teams both bounced back well from heartbreaking semi losses to finish on the medal stand and I am so proud of all of them for representing the USA so incredibly!

Ryan Millar
U.S. Olympian, indoor (2000, 2004, 2008)
Olympic gold medalist, 2008

Wonderful comeback from the Men’s Indoor Team to win the Bronze medal. I loved seeing Reid Priddy‘s veteran presence be felt, all the way to the last point where he made a fantastic cover of Matt Anderson‘s attack to save the point.

I think this team should look at Rio as a big step in preparation for Tokyo. I know it’s still four years away but the challenges that have presented themselves during these Olympic Games will help them during the coming quad. They have seen and experienced what it takes to win Olympic Gold. My money is on Team USA in 2020!!

Congrats to Karch, Jaime, and the Women’s Team as well. They showed their continued dominance and team focus. You really can feel how much that group enjoys playing together.

Bob Ctvrlik
U.S. Olympian, indoor, (1988, 1992, 1996)
Olympic gold medalist, 1988; Olympic bronze medalist, 1992

What a performance by the US Men for the bronze! This was the epitome of a TEAM win. Clutch, clutch, clutch!!! As I said a few posts back, there is a HUGE difference between the bronze and 4th. Well done men.

Danielle Scott-Arruda
U.S. Olympian, indoor, (1996, 2000, 2004, 2008, 2012)
Olympic silver medalist, 2008 & 2012

Rumble in Rio it was! I knew these Games would be amazing to watch and provoke lots of emotions. So proud of the all of USA Volleyball. Great display of character and heart to grind with determine to finish strong (Phil/Nick) and medal (both Indoor Teams and Kerri/April). Doesn’t matter the color, it is a part of history. Tokyo, look out. We’ve got a lot of talent and great team culture in the making.

From Opening Ceremony to Closing and all the amazing performances in between from all disciplines CONGRATULATIONS!

The Oracles of Volleyball … a veritable who’s who of volleyball greats, including Misty May-Treanor, Lloy Ball, Holly McPeak, Nicole Davis, Kent Steffes, Kim Oden, Scott Fortune, Tayyiba Haneef-Park, Bob Ctvrtlik, Dain Blanton, Ryan Millar, Eric Fonoimoana, Todd Rogers, and Danielle Scott-Arruda … commenting on the Rio Olympic Games with their legendary insight.

Thoughts on the quarterfinals and looking ahead to the next rounds?

Lloy Ball
U.S. Olympia, indoor (1996, 2000, 2004, 2008)
Olympic gold medalist, 2008

Crazy two days in volleyball!! Easy win for women’s indoor against Japan. They will play a strong Serbia team in the semis. And now that Brazil is OUT, the women’s chances of winning gold just went up!!! That China/Brazil match was awesome. Coach Ping should be complimented.

Kerri Walsh Jennings and April Ross lost to a good Brazilian team last night. It wasn’t our best match with some errors we normally don’t make but the girls played hard. And I LOVE Walsh’s professionalism and character. A gracious loser and already refocused for the bronze match. She is one of the best Olympians of ALL TIME. And someone young people SHOULD look up to!!!

Our boys indoor having been playing great. And their reward? Probably the best team in the other pool. This is the big one!!! Win this one and we will have a chance to medal. They need to pass well, block balls and stop the one man show of Poland’s Kurek. It reminds me of our semi-final match in Beijing. Russia’s opposite Max Makhlov had 100,000 kills but David Lee got him once, on match point and we won. The USA boys will need to stop everyone else on Poland and get Kurek at least once when it counts. Go USA!!!

Nicole Davis
U.S. Olympian, indoor (2008, 2012)
Olympic silver medalist, 2008, 2012

I think it’s the best match the girls have played. They are continuing to get better and improve. I really love the choices Alisha Glass is making. There were some great moments, for example Karsta Lowe staying in to serve (which she has not done much this tournament) at the end of the match, that really showed the mental strength and resiliency of this group to be uncomfortable and get things done. Serbia is a very talented, physical and experienced team. They are dangerous. They will ride the tides of emotion, so historically, if we can put some pressure on them early, get them on a low, they are very manageable. I expect it to be a great match!

Eric Fonoimoana
U.S. Olympian, beach (2000)
Olympic gold medalist, 2000

Kerri/April vs. Brazil – It’s a sad day for Beach Volleyball fans having the lone team ousted out of the gold medal round. It’s time to regroup and focus on their next opponent for the bronze medal match. It’s not exactly what they were looking for but it’s still fantastic to be on the podium.

USA vs. Japan – The women played great especially when they needed big plays at the end of each game. They need to keep on doing the same type of play throughout the rest of the Olympics. Keep serving tough and make big plays at the end of each game!

USA vs. POL– Good Luck men!

Ryan Millar
U.S. Olympian, indoor (2000, 2004, 2008)
Olympic gold medalist, 2008

I am really looking forward to the Men’s indoor quarterfinal match against Poland. The US has kicked their play into another gear and are looking strong, while Poland hasn’t had the success they have wanted in past Olympics’ and are hungry. I could see this match going 5 sets, with the U.S. pulling it out in the 5th.

Disappointing lose for Kerri and April against an inspired Brazilian team. What a fun atmosphere to play in front of. I can recall many fond memories of playing in Brazil, against Brazil, in front of 20,000 plus fans. I love seeing volleyball being a highlight of these games.

Bring it home USA!

Gabe Gardner
U.S. Olympian, indoor (2004, 2008)
Olympic gold medalist, 2008

I’m so proud of how the women played versus Japan. They were truly playing like veterans, even if most of the team is on the younger side of their careers. Japan is a very tricky opponent because they dig so well and it always seems like nothing phases them during a match. They always play positive and can really frustrate a team. Regardless, the women just kept grinding, even in the end of the second set when Japan was coming back. It’s a ton of fun watching the women right now heading towards a probable medal.

Kerri and April are studs, both on and off the court. On the court, they lost a real battle. I could see how well they handled defeat, which in the Olympics is about as tough as anywhere. As a young player watching these women, you learn quickly that the sports life always is ripe for dealing you a tough loss. I am proud to say that both Kerri and April are HUGE contributors to USA Volleyball behind the scenes, both having served on the Board of Directors with me. The strides they have both made in the boardroom for USA Volleyball, and especially beach volleyball, will leave a legacy in addition to their Olympic medals.

Men are on officially right there determined to be medalists… and must continue to drive their confidence and determination today. Poland, like many teams in this tournament, are as dangerous and good as anyone on any day. The men must make today theirs by playing this victory out mentally so they expect to win no matter what happens. Because tough moments happen in these games, and it’s easy to let a match dictate your confidence in winning. For the men it’s not about stopping the other player on the opposing team, it’s about playing better than the other players on the opposing team across the board. Particularly as a TEAM, starters and bench players. I bet one bench player will have a huge play this match which makes an impact. My money is on Reid Priddy. I’ve seen swagger at times from this young team and now it’s for all the marbles. Go USA.

The Oracles of Volleyball

What does it take to get through these knockout rounds?

KENT STEFFES
U.S. Olympian, beach (1996)
Olympic gold medalist, 1996
I’m in Alaska right now watching with, of all people my first pro beach volleyball partner Deek Smith and CBVA Legend Dale Hoffman.

Come with a lot of positive energy. I would try to start a match with a huge spike or an awesome serve. Didn’t matter the result just wanted to get into the mood. Jim Menges taught me that. Also, don’t make dumb errors. Still amazed how many beach players have bad footwork, are out of position on defense and not behind the ball on hits. Leftover habits from indoors and poor coaching. One example of a dumb error was during the indoor match between U.S. and China. How does China miss a dink from the pipe in critical situation? Weak.

Go USA.

LLOY BALL
U.S. Olympian, indoor (1996, 2000, 2004, 2008)
Olympic gold medalist, 2008
Quarterfinals are the most important match in the Olympics. Win and you have a chance to medal. Lose and you get zero. Playing with energy and urgency are the two big factors in this match. Both teams will have nerves, but the team the sticks to the game plan and out works the other usually wins and moves on.  That was how it worked for us in ’08. We just kept grinding against Serbia. We were down 2-1 and found ways to score real points. In the 5th, our emotion and motivation was just bigger than Serbia’s. Love seeing Matt Anderson, Max Holt and Micah Christenson step up the last two matches. With the passers getting into a rhythm I love the way the men’s team is playing.

DANIELLE SCOTT-ARRUDA
U.S. Olympian, indoor (1996, 2000, 2004, 2008, 2012)
U.S. Olympic silver medalist, 2008 & 2012
Yes, the quarterfinals are definitely key towards putting oneself in the position to play for a medal. In 2008, I remember being down against Italy (which our Ladies took care of business against Italy during pool play 2016). Lindsay Berg subbed in and served seven consecutive jump top spin serves and helped rally us back to victory. So I would say really it’s playing in the moment rather ahead or behind on the score board, playing together and finding a way to keep or build momentum. All it takes is one play to start it from which to build upon. 

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Aug. 13, 2016) – The Oracles of Volleyball … a veritable who’s who of volleyball greats.

What are your thoughts on these recent epic battles?
U.S. Men v. Brazil, back-to-back beach three setters (Nick/Phil vs. Italy; Kerri/April v. Switzerland)

Todd Rogers
U.S. Olympian, beach (2008, 2012)
Olympic gold medalist, 2008
I watched almost all of the men’s indoor match and I was impressed with the level of play on both sides but particularly our men given the circumstances. There was a sense of urgency that hasn’t been there in the previous matches. Some of the rallies were simply amazing and frankly rekindled my passion for the men’s game. The rally at the end of set two was one of the best I have ever seen. I really hope the guys take that energy all the way to the Gold.  Super entertaining to watch!

Goes without saying I am stoked for Phil Dalhausser, Nick Lucena, and Kerri Walsh Jennings and April Ross!  Keep it up!

Kim Oden
U.S. Olympian, indoor (1988, 1992)
Olympic bronze medalist, 1992
I was on the edge of my seat during Kerri and April’s match vs. Switzerland. I believe it was good for them to have a match in which they struggled and found a way to win before they got to the playoffs. I believe this experience will only make them stronger as they advance through the competition–and they were already STUDS!!!

The was FANTASTIC!! They looked like the team they are and it was fun to see. I’m cheering for them against France and Mexico. 

The USA Women’s Volleyball team has been SO steady!! They look like they are having fun playing together and they are playing SO well. They are awesome to watch! I’m cheering for you!! Good luck against China and beyond!!

Bob Ctvrlik
U.S. Olympian, indoor (1988, 1992, 1996)
Olympic gold medalist, 1988; Olympic bronze medalist, 1992
Men’s win vs Brazil was huge. It looked as if they finally settled in to actual being at the Olympics and playing how they are capable of playing as opposed to being a bit awed by the whole thing. They have a tremendous upside as it feels that they can even play better. Fun to watch them having FUN again.

As a side note, I sure like it when they keep the ball in play from 20 on, serving tough but also letting their block and defense make some plays as well.  (I guess that is the old school player in me talking!)

On the women’s beach side, it is amazing how good all of the teams are from around the world. You have to give it to Kerri and April for hanging tough and seeing the weakness in that third set vs the Swiss and jumping on it. Their hustle makes them a special team and really exciting to watch. Very impressive how Kerri can make plays as she turns from blocking. She moves as if she is a much shorter player and some of those saves she made after April dove for balls were absolutely incredible.

Holly McPeak
U.S. Olympian, beach (1996, 2000, 2004)
Olympic bronze medalist, 2004
I loved all three of those matches. As a fan, it’s fun to see both teams play well and see one team rise to the occasion and make big plays. That happened in both beach matches with Kerri/April scrapping and fighting hard for their last pool victory, and Phil and Nick digging hard to save match points against the and beat the Italians 24-22 in third set!

The Men’s Olympic indoor game was spectacular to watch!! The level of play was ridiculous and our men’s team showed the world they can play with anyone!!! Proud of them and what they accomplished, hoping our men’s team will continue their fantastic play and bring home a medal!

Danielle Scott-Arruda
U.S. Olympian, indoor (1996, 2000, 2004, 2008, 2012)
U.S. Olympic silver medalist, 2008 & 2012
Both Kerri/Ross are playing well and like the Women’s team have faced a little adversity but have been able to get the win, finishing sets and matches strong. Hats off to our men’s team who beat Brazil. That’s what the Games are about being confident that you’ve prepared and are able to overcome adversity and bring your best that day. 

Scott Fortune
U.S. Olympian, indoor (1988, 1992, 1996)
Olympic gold medalist, indoor, 1988; Olympic bronze medalist, indoor 1992
Perseverance and training is what comes to mind after watching three thrilling matches resulting in USA wins.  It starts with the will to persevere in a long tight battle and a mindset that is essential to winning by any means when tired or down.

USA Volleyball teams have been known for their long and hard training from a practice standpoint. Tough training payoffs in the end of long matches when fatigue sets in, but yet Americans seem to stay strong and even more focused to elevate to the next level to win.

Shout out to the men’s indoor team for staying positive and coming out sharp and loose to beat Brazil in 4. Need to ride that momentum into the upcoming match against a tough France.

I miss not being at the Olympics for the first time since Los Angeles, but seems that Brazil has pulled it together and the World can focus on the great achievements accomplished by all the athletes.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Aug. 11, 2016) – As the 2016 Olympic Volleyball Tournament hits the halfway point – pool play for beach volleyball concludes today, as the indoor volleyball tournament continues pool play until Monday – top U.S. Olympians share their thoughts on how this year’s U.S. Volleyball Olympic Teams are faring.

Lloy Ball
U.S. Olympian, indoor (1996, 2000, 2004, 2008)
Olympic gold medalist, 2008

Parity!!! This Olympic Games has the most parity in volleyball that I’ve ever seen. There are literally six teams on the beach side that could win. There are eight teams in the indoor side that could win. That goes for both men and women!!!

I feel bad for Casey Patterson/ Jake Gibb. Just never hit their rhythm 100 percent. They are fun to watch and great ambassadors of the game.

I loved the fight from Kerri Walsh Jennings/April Ross last night. Not their best match but they just flat-out grinded!!

Women’s indoor has started to find their way. Best match of the Olympic Games for them yesterday against a good Serbian team.

It’s do or die for men’s indoor. We played better against Italy. They will have to lay it all out there today against Brazil. But Brazil doesn’t/shouldn’t scare us!  We can beat them. They aren’t the world beaters of years ago. But…depends on us. I look for a BIG match from Matt Anderson,  Max Holt, David Lee and Micah Christenson. Go Team USA!! We KNOW you can do it!

Nicole Davis
U.S. Olympian, indoor (2008, 2012)
Olympic silver medalist, 2008, 2012

For the women’s team – I love how they are improving each match, as the match progresses also, finding ways to adjust and grow in real time. Most important, I love how well they are responding to challenges and have been figuring out ways to help each other. What’s standing out to me is the look in their eyes, actually. Especially Foluke Akinradewo, I’ve seen her at her best and I know what a dominate force she can be for this group, and she looks confident right now.

Kim Hill and Kelly Murphy have always impressed me, by their ability to make plays and how they compete with a quiet confidence that is settling to be around.  Jordan Larson just looks so comfortable on the court, especially on defense, she is just reading the game so well right now.  Alisha Glass has come up with some great saves and coverage on defense, and it’s fun to see that happen. Those are the plays that you show you’ve got each other’s backs! Kayla Banwarth is always a great receiver and it just looks like another day at the office for her! They are just fun to watch.

The men have their backs against the wall, and it seemed like a little baggage from the first match carried over to the start of the match with Italy. They look like they have a heavy burden on their shoulders, and when I’ve seen them dominating teams in the past, they smile more, they take calculated risks and let it rip when it all lines up. Not the team I feel like I’ve been watching for the last two summers. They did get better throughout the match with Italy. When they receive well, they can’t be stopped and Micah does a nice job of keeping their middles involved, which opens things up for the pins. If they can just let go, be present enjoy the experience they have to talent and ability to beat anyone in the world.

Scott Fortune
U.S. Olympian, indoor (1988, 1992, 1996)
Olympic gold medalist, indoor, 1988; Olympic bronze medalist, indoor 1992

More than any other Olympic games, it appears there are more teams capable of winning medals at the Olympics in both indoor and beach.

Women’s indoor team is responding well to the tough matches and take their cue from head coach Karch Kiraly, who remains very calm in tense situations. I really like how they have been tested with some adversity and remained consistent playing through tough times. I have been really impressed with Foluke and Rachael Adams in the middle, as they are both the most athletic blockers and attackers from the middle in the world. With the passing improving, their high efficiency attacking really opens it up for the other position players. Like how they remained serving aggressive despite some serving errors in the first two matches.

Men’s indoor team is in a tough situation and clearly not clicking on all cylinders after a tough loss to Italy. They need to take the improved play in the Italy match, where a few extra plays could have led to a victory, and build on it. At this point they have nothing to lose and need to play loose to find that contagious spirit and have fun again.

As the U.S. Olympic Volleyball Teams went undefeated in Day One of competition at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics, some of the country’s top Olympians were watching and cheering on this year’s teams. Below, six of them share what impressed them about wins by the U.S. Women’s Olympic Volleyball Team and the beach teams of Casey Patterson/Jake Gibb and April Ross/Kerri Walsh Jennings.

What’s your thoughts on the U.S. teams on day one of the Rio Olympic Games?

Bob Ctvrtlik
Olympic gold medalist, indoor, 1988; Olympic bronze medalist, indoor 1992

The U.S. Women versus Puerto Rico had a cruel efficiency.  It was great to watch the way they never really let PR into the match.  Great effort doing the little things like covering the hitter and picking up the loose balls. Really impressive how Kelly Murphy gave them a big lift from both the front and back row. Excellent start to a long tournament.

Nicole Davis
Olympic silver medalist, indoor, 2008, 2012

I think it’s challenging to play the day after the Opening Ceremony – it’s such an emotional experience.  The first match of the Olympics, as with any tournament can feel a little clunky. As you saw, there have been some “upsets” already in the other matches. It’s great for the USA team to be tested, and for things NOT to be easy for the team.  Most important is how they respond to the challenges. We didn’t have enough adversity in London, and leading up to London, so when it got really difficult in the final, we didn’t know how to help each other or maintain composure. This team has already figured out how to help each other, and it embraces challenges well, and that’s exactly what I saw in the match against Puerto Rico. Nice building block on the road to what’s possible for this team.

Dain Blanton
Olympic gold medalist, beach, 2000

Great start for Jake Gibb and Casey Patterson. Perfect type of match to kick off Games. You always want to get nerves acclimated. They are in a great spot moving forward.

Lloy Ball
Olympic gold medalist, indoor, 2008

I thought Casey looked a little nervous at the beginning of their match. But once his passing steadied out, the side-out game was solid. Jake blocked well and they out-matched the Qatar team. The women’s indoor team had to fight off an athletic and pesky Puerto Rican team. Even though it was 3-0, the match was a close one. First match jitters are normal. I’m sure (Head Coach) Karch Kiraly will dial them in at practice today and they will be cleaner in tomorrow’s match. Didn’t see April Ross/Kerri Walsh Jenning’s match. I heard 2-0. Not surprised 🙂 Walsh knows how to win and Ross is hungry for Gold.

Scott Fortune

Olympic gold medalist, indoor, 1988; Olympic bronze medalist, indoor 1992
The toughest thing the day after the Opening Ceremony and the first day of the Olympics is to fight the emotional fatigue and nerves.  The USA Volleyball teams all focused on playing efficiently and I really liked the energy on the beach to overcome any first day upsets or letdowns.  First day victories are key to start on the right foot for success during the long two weeks.

Ryan Millar
Olympic gold medalist, indoor, 2008

I have always loved Casey Patterson‘s energy and love for the game. That was in fine form during their first match. You could never watch him play and think he is not passionate about winning. He now has the gift of harnessing that passion for the greatest country in the world!

Throughout the 2016 Olympic Games, we will be asking our players from past Olympic volleyball teams to give their unique insight on the Olympic experience and their thoughts on the volleyball in Rio.

“What’s your favorite memory about the Opening Ceremony?” 

Tayyiba Haneef-Park
Olympic silver medalist, women’s indoor, 2008, 2012

My favorite memory is the moment waiting in tunnel just before you walk out into the stadium.

This photo may not look like much, but for some it is the moment that the blood, sweat and tears become reality and the Olympic dream begins. This is the tunnel to the biggest stage in the world… the Opening Ceremony. Words can’t truly capture the anticipation, the excitement, the nervousness, the empowerment, the pure emotion that takes control of your body as a quiet U-S-A tunnel chant among team members turns into a full on rage of tens of thousands screaming your country’s  name as you parade around a track. Each Olympics were different but this moment was always the same. The moment you knew something great was going to happen. Can’t wait to see Team USA march through those tunnels in a matter of hours. Some will cry, some will laugh, all will wear the red white and blue with pride. Welcome to the family, Team USA. Once an Olympian, always an Olympian!

Misty May-Treanor
Olympic gold medalist, beach, 2004, 2008, 2012

My favorite part of Opening Ceremony is the energy you feel marching in behind your flag and hearings the crowd roar. It signifies “It’s Time!” I also love seeing the many different faces that represent each country and the various authentic open ceremony outfits that represent where they come from.

Eric Fonoimoana
Olympic gold medalist, beach, 2000

Although we waited a long time to be introduced in 2000, my favorite memory of the Opening Ceremony was when USA walked on the track and the roar of 110,000 fans were cheering louder & louder than any other country. Each country was introduced in alphabetical order with the host country, Australia, going last. They knew what the Americans athletes meant to the Olympic Games and they were excited to see them compete.

Bob Ctvrtlik
Olympic gold medalist, indoor, 1984, 1988

“It has to be waiting in the tunnel in 1992 in Barcelona next to Steve Timmons when the side door opened and Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan and the entire Dream Team entered right in front of us to walk into the stadium. It seems that Steve and Magic had a good friendship and thought it would be fun to walk in together. For the USA Men’s Volleyball Team, it was great when all of the fans exploded as we entered, who cares if it MIGHT have been for those other guys!

Todd Rogers
Olympic gold medalist, beach, 2008

People always talk about the “Olympic Spirit” and I couldn’t speak to it until I experienced it first hand in Beijing and then in London at the Opening Ceremony. All countries, even those at war with one another, uniting together in a celebration of sports and putting aside their respective issues. It was a very special feeling that I will never forget.

Lloy Ball
Olympic gold medalist, men’s indoor, 2008

Of my four Olympics, I only marched the Opening Ceremony in Atlanta and Athens. I had a bad knee in Sydney and I was just old in Beijing. 1996 was the best opening. It was in the U.S.!!! We walked with the Dream Team!! We played cards with Lisa Leslie and the women’s hoops team while we waited. Muhammad Ali was there!!! But the best thing about it was the deafening roar & explosion of camera flashes when Team USA walked in. It was 110,000 people cheering just for me!!! (so it felt). I still get goose bumps talking about it.

Kim Oden
Olympic bronze medalist, women’s indoor, 1992

My favorite thing about the Opening Ceremony in the 1988 (Seoul) and 1992 (Barcelona) Olympics was marching in with the entire U.S.A. delegation. Representing our country in front of the thousands in the stands (including my family in 1992) and those watching on television, was truly a dream come true. We were all wearing the same outfit, which was specially designed for us. It was one of those times when I really felt the unity of the United States–and it was wonderful. Additionally, marching in with the volleyball team, including my sister, Elaina (a fellow ’92 Olympian), was a total blessing. Once we got onto the field, it was awesome to take pictures with people from other countries who were dressed in their national, specially designed outfit. The memory of participating in the Opening Ceremony (both times) is one that I’ll cherish for the rest of my life.

I know the current team will have an amazing experience at Rio’s opening ceremony. I am cheering for the USA women’s and men’s indoor and beach volleyball teams. Go U.S.A.!

Holly McPeak
Olympic bronze medalist, beach, 2004

I’m excited to watch all the competition in Rio. The Opening Ceremony is a surreal experience and it’s magical to walk into the stadium representing your country!

Ryan Millar
Olympic gold medalist, men’s indoor, 2008

I remember walking into the Olympic Stadium during my first Olympic Games in Sydney. The energy was literally physical. Even walking down the tunnel into the stadium, I could feel the excitement, passion and anticipation everyone had. That is a moment I will never forget.

Kent Steffes
Olympic gold medalist, beach, 1996

Walking into the stadium and seeing all the cheering people.

Nicole Davis
Olympic silver medalist, women’s indoor, 2008, 2012

My favorite Olympic memory is definitely the Opening Ceremony. It’s so magical, and it’s such a confirmation that what you do is bigger than you, and all the pain and sacrifice makes sense!

Scott Fortune
Olympic gold medalist, men’s indoor, 1988

After a long wait and anticipation, finally walking into the Barcelona stadium alongside the Dream Team and with the other great USA athletes. Seemed like slow motion, but watching the torch flame being shot up in the air by an archer to light the Olympic Cauldron and at that moment the Games were on.