Earls Court is the place to be during the Olympic Games – Empty at the moment but soon the action starts
The twelve teams qualified for London are divided into two groups for the preliminary round. Heading Pool A is the host nation with Olympic FIVB Hero Lynne Beattie. It is their first Olympic appearance and Team GB will have to face mighty Russia in their opening match. The reigning world champions are among the big favourites for a podium finish and Olympic FIVB Hero Ekaterina Gamova is one of the tournament’s biggest stars. She is attending her fourth Olympic Games and after two silver medals in Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004 she won’t settle for anything less than gold!
Pool A also features the current World Cup champion Simona Gioli, who wants to take home Italy’s first ever Olympic medal in the sport, and Japanese duo Yoshie Takeshita and Saori Kimura, who are heading for their third Games. The Dominican Republic with Olympic FIVB Hero Milagros Cabral de la Cruz, back to the Games after missing Beijing 2008, and Algeria, with captain and middle blocker Lydia Oulmou, complete the pool.
Pool B is considered the “group of death” by volleyball fans, with all six teams poised to reach the quarter finals, and it brings together some of the world’s most amazing spikers. FIVB Hero Sheilla Castro will lead Brazil to defend the gold medal from Beijing, but she will have tough opponents standing in her path, such as fellow FIVB Hero Destinee Hooker and Team USA. Hooker is playing her first Olympic Games, but after winning the World Grand Prix three years running, her confidence is high.
FIVB Heroes Neslihan Darnel from Turkey and Yeon-Koung Kim from South Korea are also making their Olympic debuts, joined in Pool B by Serbia, the current European Champions with Jovana Brakocevic, and China with Yimei Wang, bronze medalist in Beijing 2008. Jovana and Yimei are coming back from injuries, but are now ready for action.
The Olympic Games are on! Who will make their mark? Stay tuned at FIVBheroes.com to find out!