Bill Dwyre at the Los Angeles Times has written a great piece on one of the coaches who made Beijing memorable: U.S. men’s indoor volleyball head coach Hugh McCutcheon. He led the U.S. men to the gold medal – one of four medals and three golds that USA Volleyball took home from China – in the worst of circumstances: an apparently random attack at the Drum Tower (Gulou) tourist site in Beijing the day after the opening ceremony took the life of his father-in-law, Todd Bachman, and critically injured his mother-in-law, Barbara. McCutcheon has now taken the helm of the U.S. national women’s program for the London Olympics, following in the footsteps of Chinese legend “Jenny” Lang Ping, who led the U.S. indoor women’s team to the silver in Beijing. McCutcheon is by all accounts a class act, and it’s great to see the U.S. national women’s team in good hands for the next quadrennium.
Hugh McCutcheon of U.S. volleyball moves beyond Beijing – LA Times
The USA women’s volleyball team qualified for an Olympic berth at the FIVB World Cup in Japan with a win over the host country, bringing the U.S. record for the tournament to 9-1. They’re assured of one of the three top spots in the tournament – and the top three can punch their tickets for China next year. It will be a homecoming for U.S. coach “Jenny” Lang Ping, perhaps China’s most recognizable volleyball superstar in history and the hero of the gold-medal-winning 1984 Olympic squad that beat the United States in the final. This will be one of the hottest tickets in Beijing – Lang Ping is still revered in China and she’s very much a part of the Chinese volleyball scene as well.
Team USA secures 2008 Olympic Games berth (USA Volleyball)
Best news out of USA women’s volleyball since 2002…at least as far as it concerns world powerhouse and archrival Brazil. The U.S. women upset Brazil for the first time since, well, 2002, and pulled a Boston Red Sox on them to boot, going down 0-2 in the best-of-five match before rallying to win the final three games. Team USA is still undefeated in the FIVB World Cup, the first of three Olympic qualifying tournaments – and only Team Italy can match that record. There are three Olympic berths up for grabs in this event – and Team USA is doing everything right so far in making sure they come home with one of them.
For readers of Chinese, Team USA coach Jenny Lang Ping, a Chinese volleyball legend and star of the 1984 Olympic-gold-medal-winning Chinese team, writes a blog on Chinese web portal Sohu.com. Great reading to get the latest scoop on how things are going with Team USA in Japan.
Lang Ping’s Sohu.com Blog
Official Lang Ping Website
With a roster chock-full of Olympic experience, the USA women’s volleyball team continues its quest for a Beijing 2008 berth. The team is currently undefeated in World Cup tournament action in Japan, 3-0, with wins against Peru, Cuba, and Poland.
Italy, Brazil and Serbia are also undefeated so far in tournament action as the second round of the event begins. The top three teams out of the twelve entered in the tournament, ranked by record, will advance automatically to the Beijing Olympics.
USA Women’s Volleyball home page
FIVB World Cup home page
U.S. team names its 12-woman roster for the volleyball World Cup:
Team USA Selects 12-Player Roster for FIVB Women’s World Cup (USA Volleyball)
The FIVB World Cup in Japan gets closer every day – the dates of the competition are November 2-16, and the top three teams advance to the Beijing Olympics. It’s the first Olympic qualifying event for a sport sure to bring down the rafters in China – as with most countries outside the United States, China is a hotbed for world class volleyball, especially on the women’s side.
Click here to download a PDF version of USA Volleyball’s weekly newsletter, with news of Jenny Lang Ping’s women’s national team and their recent results and aspirations for the World Cup.
The 2007 FIVB World Cup, to be held in Japan from November 2- 16, will go a long way towards determining which teams get the chance to face host country China in one of the marquee events of the 2008 Olympics. Of course the United States women’s team has a huge China connection with head coach Jenny Lang Ping, the star of China’s gold-medal-winning 1984 Olympic team.
FIVB announces 2007 World Cup schedule (USA Volleyball)
They’ll be in Ningbo, China at the end of the month. As the host country, China will be there. Sadly, the United States will not – they were eliminated earlier today in the FIVB World Grand Prix tournament in Macau.
U.S. Women lose to Netherlands 3-1 (USA Volleyball)
Got all that? It’s summertime, and that means it’s time for Olympic aficionados to salivate over next year’s potential matchup of China and the United States in the biggest women’s professional sport you never knew existed if you’ve spent your entire life in the United States: women’s volleyball. It’s a pro sport just about everywhere but in the good ol’ U.S. of A., where the NCAA rules mean that women athletes have to basically re-learn the sport when they make the jump from college to the international game. China’s 1984 Olympic darling, Lang Ping, is the coach for Team USA – and her hand-picked protege is the coach for Team China. That makes it one of the best matchups you’ll see in Beijing – if both teams are at their best.
This week both the Chinese and American teams are battling it out in Macau – and next week they go to Ningbo, China, for the FIVB World Grand Prix finals, where Lang Ping is regularly recognized on the street as a national hero. I love a country where the most famous Olympic superstar of the last quarter-century is a woman (and a classy, fun, 6’2″ woman to boot). That’s just plain cool.
U.S. Women’s Team Swept By China (USA Volleyball)
If you’re in the Seattle area and you’re passionate about sport and China, you’ll want to be watching KCTS, our local public television station, this evening. “Generation IX,” a documentary that follows the 2005 NCAA champion University of Washington women’s volleyball team from the Final Four to Beijing and Shanghai, where they competed last summer, will air at 8 p.m. It’s a tremendously well-done story of the landscape of elite women’s sports in the United States today, and it features a short interview with China’s most famous Olympian of all – “Jenny” Lang Ping, 1984 Olympic gold medalist and the outside hitter for perhaps the best women’s volleyball team ever to come out of the PRC. (For those not in the know, women’s volleyball is a huge professional sport in China, with televised competitions and rock-star status for the name players.) I’ve had the pleasure of meeting the filmmakers, Jack and Leslie Hamann, as well as the UW women featured in the film, and they’re as impressive as any of the NBA players I’ve interviewed. Must-see TV in the Pacific Northwest tonight.
â€œA WINNING LOOK AT FEMALE ATHLETESâ€ â€“Seattle Times
â€œA smart, finely tuned film, worth viewing by anyone who gives a hoot about young women, athlete or not â€¦
The win, easily and enthusiastically, goes to â€˜Generation IX.â€™â€ â€“Florangela Davila, Seattle TimesÂ
â€œThis film isn’t about the past. It’s about the present, where women are training and showing
as much talent and fortitude as their male counterparts on their way to victory.â€ â€“Victor Balta, Everett Herald
â€œItâ€™s hard to watch and not be inspired.â€ â€“Wendy Carpenter, The News Tribune, Tacoma
[Also: â€œDocumentary focuses on UW Womenâ€™s Volleyball,â€ â€“Casey McNerthney, Seattle Post-Intelligencer]
[Also: â€œCoupleâ€™s passion shines through in documentary,â€ â€“Florangela Davila, Seattle Times]
[Also: â€œGeneration IX: Documentary follows UW women athletes, beneficiaries of Title IXâ€ â€“Nancy Wick, University Week, University of Washington]
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