U.S. Women Defeat Brazil to Win 1st Olympic Volleyball Gold Medal


Tokyo — Jordan Larson fell to the floor, put his head in his hands and cried after Brazil was unable to return the spikes at the matchpoint.

Frustration that the US women’s volleyball team is very close but not enough after finally defeating Brazil 25–21, 25–20, 25–14 on Sunday and winning the Olympic gold medal , Was replaced by a sense of relief.

“I’m still in shock,” Larson said. “In the last 24 hours, I cried more than I expected in my career. I’m neither an emotional player nor an emotional person. But I said that only emotions made the most of me. I think. I’m in such a euphoric and shocked state right now. “

The United States, which has won three silver and two bronze medals since it first won the medal in 1984, defeated the team that denied the chance to win the gold medal in the final round of the 2008 and 2012 Olympics. I jumped out.

The team that won the silver medal in 2012 and Larson, who was a member of the bronze medal team five years ago, paved the way with leadership on the court and strong offensive and defensive play.

Larson and middle blocker Foluke Akinrade Woganderson, who returned to the third Olympics after a shortage in Rio de Janeiro, are full medals, following what is expected to be the last Olympic match of their career. I have a collection.

“I couldn’t write any more stories for her,” setter Jordy Poulter said of Larson’s offer of victory points. “She and Fouke have spent a lot of time on this program and have experienced both thick and thin. It’s great to embark on this journey with them.”

This victory allowed US coach Karch Kiraly to join China’s Langpin as the second person to win a gold medal as a volleyball player and lead the country to a gold medal as a coach. Killery won gold medals indoors as a player in 1984 and 1988. In 1996, he also won a gold medal in beach volleyball.

But he said this was more satisfying because of how difficult the process was after joining the staff as an assistant before the 2012 Olympics and taking over the head coach before 2016.

“The goal here wasn’t to help Curch win the fourth gold medal. The goal was to help American women become Olympic champions,” he said. .. “It was a lot more powerful for me today than when I was a player, because I won the first Olympic Games I played. We approached and lost, approached and lost, I didn’t get close enough. It gives me a taste and a special feeling when I have a hard time. “

The United States got off to a quick start by scoring the first four points behind a powerful attack by Michelle Bartsch-Hackley. It never dragged in the opener, winning it 25-21 with a soft shot by Bartsch-Hackley who gave her 8 points on the set.

The pattern continued with the next two sets as the United States won all nine sets in the knockout round.

The match then ended in a fitting style with a kill by Larson, leading to a tearful hug among the players on the court.

“In order for us to be here, many people had to make many sacrifices and learn in the process,” Larson said. “In London and Rio, I had to learn that wasn’t enough at that time. Did you believe at that moment? Absolutely. You had to take another step to understand that. did.”

The road to this stage has been a long way for the US women’s team, which began more than 40 years before the 1980 Olympic team decided to begin year-round training, but refused the opportunity to compete for the United States. Was-leaded the boycott of the Moscow Olympics.

However, the foundation has been set up, and Americans have won six medals in the last ten Olympics and finally won gold medals.

Brazil has won gold medals in men’s or women’s indoor volleyball at the fourth consecutive Olympic Games. Men won titles in 2004 and 2016, and girls won titles in 2008 and 2012. This is the first time in Tokyo following seven consecutive victories. The boy lost the semi-final against the Russians and the bronze medal game against Argentina.

“The first thing that comes to mind is sadness,” said Brazilian outside hitter Gabi Guimaraes. “We couldn’t implement the tactics we had in previous games.”

Brazil played short-handed after outside hitter Tandara Caixeta returned home before the semi-finals after being suspended for possible violations of anti-doping rules. Tandara’s lawyer said the banned substance found in the July test was mistakenly introduced into her system.

In the bronze medal match, Serbia defeated South Korea 25–18, 25–15, 25–15 and won the women’s volleyball medal at the Olympic Games for the second consecutive year. Serbs won the silver medal in 2016 with their first sports medal.

By Josh Dubow

Associated Press