On the first day of competition, Pool A will see an all-Olympic FIVB Heroes match between Brazilians Juliana Felisberta da Silva/Larissa Franca and Natasha Rigobert/Elodie Li Yuk Lo from Mauritius. It will be the Brazilians’ Olympic debut together, as back in Beijing Juliana had injured her knee and Larissa played with a different partner, Ana Paula. For Natasha and Elodie it will be a really special occasion: Mauritius will compete in a team sport event in the Olympics for the very first time thanks to their performance in the CAVB qualification tournament. And the National Olympic Committee even chose Natasha to carry the flag at the opening ceremony tonight!
Our stars in Pool B are Olympic FIVB Heroes Xue Chen and Zhang Xi, who have experienced the Olympic podium before: In Beijing they scored the bronze medal after beating Brazilian team Talita Antunes/Renata Ribeiro in the third-place match. They won’t face any of the FIVB Heroes during the group stage and are hotly tipped to reach the podium again.
Pool C kicks off with a match between Olympic FIVB Heroes on the first day. Defending champions Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh will start the competition playing against Australians Natalie Cook/Tamsin Hinchley. These girls are the most experienced FIVB Heroes in the Olympics, as Misty and Kerri participate together for the third time and are looking to make history after winning the Athens and Beijing editions. Natalie is even more experienced in the rarefied air of the Olympics, as London will be her fifth Games! Sydney in 2000 was her best showing, when she won the gold medal with her partner Kerri Pottharst.
In Pool D, Olympic FIVB Heroes Jennifer Kessy/April Ross from the US and the Netherlands’ Sanne Keizer/Marleen van Iersel debut against Virginia Zonta/Ana Gallay from Argentina and Elsa Baquerizo/Liliana Fernandez from Spain, respectively. The encounter between the Heroes will be on Tuesday 31 July.
In Pool E, Brazilians Maria Antonelli/Talita Antunes kick off against Dutch team Madelein Meppelink/Sophie van Gestel while German FIVB Heroes Sara Goller/Laura Ludwig play their first match against Louise Bawden/Becchara Palmer from Australia. It’s the second Olympic participation for Talita, who finished fourth in Beijing with her partner Renata Ribeiro after losing against Chen Xue/Xi Zhang. The encounter between the Olympic FIVB Heroes will be on Tuesday 31 July.
Local team Zara Dampney/Shauna Mullin will have the crowd on their side to try to reach the knockout stage. Their toughest competitors will be Italian Heroes Greta Cicolari/Marta Menegatti in Pool F on Tuesday 31 July.
Are you ready for some Olympic action? Which teams will reach the round of 16? Stay tuned at FIVBheroes.com and don’t miss anything!
Juliana Felisberta Silva/Larissa Franca, Brazil
Katrin Hloltwick/Ilka Semmler, Germany
Lenka Hajeckova/Hana Klapalova, Czech Republic
Natacha Rigobert/Elodie Li Yuk Lo, Mauritius
Chen Xue/Xi Zhang, China
Simone Kuhn/Nadine Zumkehr, Switzerland
Vasiliki Arvaniti/Maria Tsiartsiani, Greece
Anastasia Vasina/Anna Vozakova, Russia
Misty May-Treanor/Kerri Walsh, United States
Kristyna Kolocova/Marketa Slukova, Czech Republic
Doris Schwaiger/Stefanie Schwaiger, Austria
Natalie Cook/Tamsin Hinchley, Australia
Jennifer Kessy/April Ross, United States
Sanne Keizer/Marleen van Iersel, Netherlands
Elsa Baquerizo/Liliana Fernandez, Spain
Ana Gallay/Maria Zonta, Argentina
Maria Antonelli/Talita Antunes, Brazil
Sara Goller/Laura Ludwig, Germany
Louise Bawden/Becchara Palmer, Australia
Madelein Meppelink/Sophie van Gestel, Netherlands
Zara Dampney/Shauna Mullin, Great Britain
Greta Cicolari/Marta Menegatti, Italy
Ekaterina Khomyakova/Evgenia Ukolova, Russia
Marie-Andree Lessard/Annie Martin, Canada