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Rogers: Gold in Beijing

August 25, 2008

Phil and I did it!  A crazy but wonderful last 2 weeks.

In the semis we played Georgia and pretty much crushed them with scores of 11 and 13.  We both played very well.  Phil was banging jump serves and stuffing balls and I sided out well and was scooping too.  They did not play anywhere near as well as they did against the Netherlands the match before us.  I am sure they are very dissapointed in the way they played but I think their fourth place finish is pretty impressive considering that they were supposed to take a 9th at best.

In the finals we played Marcio and Fabio from Brasil.  They have had a really rough season this year.  They won an event in Marseille to confirm their entry into the Olympics but other than that their best finish was a 4th this year.  The win in Marseille came with a very weak field as most teams took it off to rest.  Considering that they won a bunch of events in 2007 I would say this year has been a big time struggle.  It was nice to see them play well and get to the finals.  That being said, I still very much wanted to beat them.

I felt that during the first two games both teams played pretty solid ball.  I came out slow but picked it up as the first game went on and we were able to pull out a win 23-21.  In the second I felt like we were in control but then at 13-10 the Brasis went on a 4 point run due to some very good serving by Marcio.  They continued their excellent play and won that game 21-17.  In the third it was all Phil though.  He was in the zone and put Fabio into a telephone booth.  Really impressive performance by Phil in which I feel that he cemented his status as the best player in the world.  He came up huge in the biggest match and then game of his career and that is what the best player in the world does.


Rogers: We did it!!

August 22, 2008

And we did it…After many long, close, and tough matches we did it!

Game 1 was a must-win battle and we won 23-21.  In Game 2, we made a few mistakes which resulted in us losing 17-21.  Then came Game 3….there are not many Game 3’s in the Olympics gold medal match but Todd and I found ourselves in a MUST-WIN Game 3 scenario.  If there is one time in an athlete’s career to get fired up, it is the gold medal match!  Game 3 began and I got in a zone…you know that feeling some people describe where they aren’t really thinking but just doing?

Where everything comes together and you are just in that “ZONE”? well, we found ourselves there and pulled through 21-4 and won a gold medal for ourselves, our team, and our country.  It was one of most memorable experiences of my life to see the American flag raised and hear USA’s national anthem on that podium.

There will be nothing better than getting on that plane back to the United States with both the men’s and women’s gold medals in beach volleyball.  Congratulations Misty and Kerri!  I want to take my hat off to the other USA Olympians.  Jake Gibb, Sean Rosenthal, Elaine Youngs, and Nicole Branagh fought a good fight and represented the USA  with class and dignity.  But before getting on that plane, there will be some definite celebration.  We will head over to the basketball arena to cheer for Team USA and watch them win Gold.  Check out for pictures and video!

Todd Rogers: Updates from the Beijing sand …

August 19, 2008

USA vs. 3 Brasilians
Phil and I are the lone team left in the men’s side of the tourney that doesn’t originally hale from Brasil. Obviously there are the defending gold medalists from Brasil, Ricardo and Emannuel. They are playing Marcio and Fabio also from Brasil. The last team from Brasil is playing under the Georgian flag and they will be our competition at 9am tomorrow morning.

We have played the Georgian team a handful of times over the past 2 years. I don’t think we have lost to them. The right sider is a smaller guy, probably around my size, with a whip of an arm and very good all around ball control. He has a very good jump serve when he gets it going that can wreak some havoc. The left side guy is the blocker. He is probably only about 6’5 but has exceptionally long arms and puts up a good size block. Should be a good match. They have been playing well and it was a pretty big upset when the took down the team from the Netherlands.

Into the Semis
I have been having trouble finding time to keep everyone up to date. I wanted to blog everyday but it just seems like there is to much to do to get it all done. Also, wanted to let everyone know who is posting that I am reading your post and I appreciate all the support. Have not had the time to post back though but certainly will once the games are over.

Good times the last couple of days. We had that battle against Swizterland and the next day I went to the airport and picked up my wife. Very happy to see her and have her here in support. No kids though. It was a decision that I agonized over for awhile but felt it would be the best call not to have them here. After being here for a couple of days I am glad I made that decision. My kids would not have had a very good time. They would have loved watching me play but they would have been bored out of their minds most of the time. Not to mention that all the venues are a fair distance away from one another and you have to spend about 30 minutes or more in a cab to go to most of the venues. If I actually play for another 4 years and happen to make it to the 2012 games, then I would definetely take them. Long ways away though and I have no desire to even think that far down the road.

On Monday morning we beat the German team of David Klemperer and Eric Koreng. Very athletic team and a couple of very good guys in general.

I have the utmost respect for both of them as players and people. Phil played very well. Probably the best he has played so far. I played okay but struggled to pass a bit which made it tough for Phil to set me with consistancy. This of course led to errors, blocks and digs for the Germans. We were fortunate that we won the match in 2 games.

Today we trained in the morning at the site and then Melissa and I did a little shopping at the USA House. They have some great stuff there with the Olympic Logo and USA on them. Winding down the day now. Time to take a steam, have some dinner, and hit the hey for tomorrow’s 9am match vs. the Georgian team.

Todd Rogers: The Swiss are dangerous

August 19, 2008

Well I was totally wrong on how the draw worked! We ended up being the 8th seed and will play Laciga/Schneider from Switzerland. The winner of our match will then play the winner of China and Germany (Klemperer/Koreng).

The Swiss are a dangerous team. They are both former blockers and both have big jump serves especially Martin Laciga. He is not afraid to go for it at any time within a game. They both pass okay and set very well. Martin likes a shoot set to the pin and Jan likes a bit of lob set but not quite out to the pin. They are probably 6’6 and 6’5 respectively.

The last time we played them was in Norway where we beat them in 3. In that game we won easily in the first game. They were trying to bomb their jump serves and missed a lot of serves. In the second game they served me jump float serves and caught me totally off guard. We battled and I actually had a dig and chance for putaway at 20-19 but Jan stuffed me and then proceeded to stuff me 2 more times in a row.
In the third we won 15-11 or 12.

Looking forward to playing at 9am tomorrow morning. The women have started us off strong so hopefully us men can continue that trend.

Rogers: Interesting first week

August 15, 2008

Interesting first week in all kinds of different ways. Certainly from a playing standpoint it has not been exactly as Phil and I originally drew it up. Our first match vs. Latvia was a bit of a debacle from Phil and I’s standpoint. We played poorly, they played well, and the end result was a loss. We rebounded well in our next two matches by beating Switzerland and Argentina fairly handily. But because of our 1st loss, we ended up being second in our pool and will not be seeded 2nd overall but instead we will be anywhere from 10th – 12th in the draw. This of course means a much tougher 1st round match against the 5th, 6th, or 7th seed. We will find out tonight who we play.

A highlight of our week here has been meeting with President Bush not once but twice. 1st we met with him right before the opening ceremonies. That was of course with all the other American athletes that walked in the opening ceremonies. All the beach volleyball players took a team picture with the President and chatted with him a bit. Kerri told him to come to their practice and he was fired up about coming. Sure enough, the next day he showed up around 11am to watch Kerri and Misty practice. Phil and I were also practicing so he came and took some pictures and chatted it up with us. Pretty enjoyable watching all the guys and gals there be somewhat in awe and want their picture taken with the President.

Another very cool part about the Olympics is how often you run into some of the greatest athletes past and present. Working out and having lunch at the BNU (where the USOC is stationed) you get to see and meet amazing people and athletes. In the present there are all the basketball guys from the NBA. Working out next to Kobe is a bit of trip. Eating lunch with all the great American athletes and their coaches is amazing. Many of the coaches here are former Olympic greats having won gold medals over the past 40 years. As I have experienced this it has dawned on me why the Olympics are so special or at least an aspect of why they are so special. Where else will you ever see a gathering of athletes of this magnitude from the past and present and then get to interact with them. It is one thing to see it all on TV. It is another to say hello to them and then have them say “good job last night” to you is something special. You share this bond with NBA superstars and the guy you have never even heard of. In the end though, you are all Olympians and that is something that no one can take away from all of us.

Todd Rogers: Up and down

August 13, 2008

Been a bit lax in blogging and I apologize for that. Things have been up and down here for those of you that have not been following the progress of Phil and I. Lots of stuff to talk about but I will stick to the 2 matches we have played so far as well as the one we play tomorrow morning.

In our first game on Saturday night we lost to the Latvians in 2 games. 21-19 and 21-18. I give them credit as I felt they played a solid game. Our game was very poor however. Our serving and block defense were atrocious. I think I dug 2 balls and Phil blocked 2 balls. Not sure on those numbers but it was how I remember it. Phil was like a tree getting chopped away on by a lumber jack. The right side guy must have chiselled off of him a dozen times or so. Then if the ball did get by him I would shank it into the stands. Our sideout game was average at best. All in all it was a terrible game for us.
Felt like we were in a bit of a fog. The silver lining in the game was that we lost by 2 and 3 points respectively and we felt we played poor and they played well.

In our second match on Monday night we played the number 1 Swiss team.

We played well pretty much the whole game and I think gave up a total of 4 real points on 2 aces, a chuck set, and I got scooped on a cut shot. The scores were 15 and 10 I think. Totally different Phil at the net. He shut down the right sider for Switzerland in a big way and when the ball actually got past him, which was not very often, I gobbled up most of them. It was nice to play at the level we know we can play at. We both served well and sided out well too.

Tomorrow morning at 9am we play the team from Argentina. Big game as the winner of the game will for sure move on. The loser will have to wait to see what happens in the other matchup in our pool to see if they move on. I look at it as the start of single elimination for Phil and I. If we win we are definetely out of pool play and there is still a chance that we could win our pool and keep our seed. We just have to take care of our business first though.

Todd Rogers: Saturday, August 9

August 9, 2008

WOW!!!! What an opening cermonies. Really glad I walked. It is a pretty overwhelming experience when you walk down the tunnel and come out into the massive stadium with 100,000 people or so cheering. Great to see a bunch of American flags throughout the stadium. Swells you with pride.

The entire American delegation was also treated with meeting President Bush, the first lady and former President Bush. Right before we walked we went into a private hall and the President gave a short speech and then took his picture with every team. He spent a lot of time with each team which was really cool. Becoming old hat to hang with the President. 🙂

Have our first game today against Latvia. Not sure what exactly to expect. Figure I will just treat it like any other match and go from there. If anything, I am trying not to get to excited and be too jacked up for the match. I tend to play ohhh not so good when I get too jacked up. Start hitting balls out and stuff trying to crush everything. As you can tell though, I am excited and ready to go after a 2 week hiatus from playing. Will update you tomorrow on how it went.

Todd Rogers: Thursday, August 7

August 7, 2008

Got into Beijing last night with Phil. Kind of amazing as there were almost no cars on any of the roads. They have literally taken the vast majority of cars off of the road to clean out the pollution. Doubt that would ever happen in LA.

Spent our first night here in the Olympic Village and today we are moving to the Hilton which is close to the venue. This morning we went to the venue and hit the ball around. Nothing major. Just pass, set, serve kind of thing. Whenever I fly on a long flight my joints protest big time the next day. The nice thing is the humidity warms you up and gets you sweating really quick. Was good to touch the ball at the venue.

The Venue itself is very nice. Center court looks very cool and I can’t wait until it is packed with people and we are playing. Should be very exciting. They have about 7 or 8 courts all around center court for players to practice on.

The air here is difficult to clarify. In that I mean that it looks really bad but the humidity makes it seem much worse than it actually is. The humidity is almost like fog. I will say this, today the sun looked like the moon through the fog, smog, haze or whatever. Pretty trippy.

Going to go hit the gym now. Just had lunch at the BNU which is the american headquarters. Very nice and the food was top notch. The gym is supposed to be very nice here as well. About 55 hours and counting until our first match!