FIVB Hero Clayton Stanley and team USA have realised their dream of defending their Olympic title and participating in the games for the eighth consecutive time, by defeating Canada in straights sets in the final of the NORCECA Olympic Qualifier.
The road to London has been difficult for team USA, missing out at an opportunity for a ticket to London at the World Cup in Japan, and with star player Stanley unable to play the club season in Russia due to injury. The FIVB Hero returned to the US for surgery and slowly regained his form, but even up to two weeks before the tournament his participation was far from certain.
In the final, however, he proved he was back to his best ending the match as best scorer with 12 kills, 2 aces and one kill block on opponents Canada. Following the victory Stanley’s teammate Reid Priddy paid tribute to the fantastic support of the local crowd.
“I’ve never played in such an important match on U.S. soil with as much significance and as much support as this one.”
Cuba, meanwhile, finished 3rd, but Leon and his teammates have another chance to qualify for London at the one of intercontinental qualifiers. But first they will go to Hamamatsu for the first weekend of the World League, playing in a pool with Russia, Serbia and Japan.
The USA will also prepare for the World League, where they will play against Italy, France and South Korea. In the last Olympic year the USA won the World League and a couple of weeks later beat Brazil in the Olympic final. Is a repeat on the cards? Stanley and his teammates believe it is!