On Saturday Earls Court hosted the final act of an amazing event that united 144 athletes from 12 countries over the course of two weeks. The Brazilians repeated their moment of glory from 2008 in Beijing, showing their best game in the final to take the gold medal home once more.
But first, Japan and Korea entered the court to fight for the bronze medal. Olympic FIVB Hero Yeon-Koung Kim, one of the biggest stars in London, was again the best scorer of her team with 22 points, but the Japanese side impressed with great teamplay and deservedly won 3-0 (25-22, 26-24, 25-21). FIVB Heroes Yoshie Takeshita and Saori Kimura conquered their first Olympic medal and took their country to the podium for the first time in 28 years.
A proud Takeshita said: “I feel that I finally reached out for the medal. I also feel that it was good to wrap up the Olympics with the victory. We think that we all individually worked hard and believed in ourselves. That made the difference today. It was not only the setting, we all played well. My role is to help underneath the base and I did it today. The Olympic medal is the best moment of all.”
All eyes on the final, the face-off between FIVB Heroes Sheilla Castro and Destinee Hooker was hotly anticipated. Brazil and the USA emerged as the best teams during the Olympics and were ready to give all they had. After four sets, the Brazilians proved their incredible levels of maturity and experience, conquering their second consecutive gold.
Sheilla, who scored 15 points, revealed after the game that she woke up in the middle of the night before the final with a sentence in her head: “Every dream to become true needs someone to believe in it” – something she passed on to all her team-mates and that they used to come back and beat the Americans 3-1 (11-25, 25-17, 25-20, 25-17).
Congratulations to all our Olympic FIVB Heroes, medalists and non-medalists alike. You inspired not only the crowds that packed into London’s Earls Court for every match, but thousands of fans all over the world with your determination, your fighting spirit and teamwork.
Volleyball fans worldwide, keep following and being inspired by your favourite Heroes at www.fivbheroes.com.