Surely the most spectacular venue of the London Olympics is the Beach Volleyball site inserted smack into the Horse Guard Parade and in the shadow of Whitehall, the London Eye,
Big Ben and the Prime Minster's Doorstep at 10 Downing Street. Here 96 athletes are battling it out on a stretch of sand 30 miles from the nearest real beach. 4115 tons of sand from a quarry in Surrey, England were shipped in, and in a matter of 6 weeks from the Trooping of the Colour in this very location, the stage was set up for the biggest party event of the Olympics.
As you enter the surroundings, you are greeted by a 25 foot sculpture of Kerry Walsh, an American beach volleyball player and two time Gold medalist, who is aiming for another gold this year.
Some amazing sand sculptures are up for view,
and this artist is working on his rendition of the Beach Volleyball venue surrounded by all the historical buildings.
Bright and early one morning, we took in the match between the Chinese girls and Greece.
The women beach volleyball players are some lean, mean machines!
Xue Chan and Zhang Xi of China easily mastered this match to move on,
and then posed kindly for us. They were an awesome pair and will be a formidable competitor against Americans Kerri Walsh and Misty May-Treanor in Tuesday's semi-finals.
Germany easily defeated crowd favorites from Mauritius,
and then it was time for the men.
Russia played up to the crowd, and defeated China to move on,
followed by Poland's defeat of South Africa.
And then there was this little group called The Horse Guards dancers who charmed the crowd
with every kick, twist
and shimmy turning the event into one of the most coveted tickets of this year's Olympics.
Certainly the most festive atmosphere of all the competitions!
A DJ, congo lines, macarena, rock&roll, and a bit of flirting made the time outs and intermissions as entertaining as the volleyball.
And since I've been sharing with you some of the friends we made in the crowd, let me introduce you to little Johnny of Team GB who came for the show with his mommy and daddy who were celebrating their anniversary with a champagne toast.
He was a little young to appreciate the "view" that this event offered, but his daddy sure did appreciate the players' "talents" and physique.
This sport definitely includes a hug-fest
after each point
with the gals,
a bit of a squeeze
and even some lovin' with the guys. Awww.....
Tuesday holds the semi-finals for the women's teams. Both American teams have made it to this point--one of them will be playing China, the other team playing Brazil. In what could be an interesting scenario, if both American teams win the semi-finals, they could end up playing each other in the finals.
There is one men's team playing today, Monday, in the quarter finals--wishing them the best as they aim to win.
Lots of good beach volleyball ahead--come join the party!