It is possible that I have a little crush on Riley Salmon.
He's not like, super pretty or anything, but he's got that cute Texas boy thing going (not that I particularly like the Texas thing, but I seem to find a lot of Texas boys cute) and he's short and not very powerful and has an idiotic shoulder tattoo and has to get kills by tooling the block and being super tricksy. Plus he yaps a lot to his teammates and cuddles them a lot and at the end of the match against Serbia, he got a kill to get the US to match point and got so excited he ran all the way to the other end of the court. Then he realised none of his teammates were there and turned around, confused, and sheepishly ran back towards them. And then he gets the kill to win the match and leaps onto the libero and wraps his legs around his waist. Then in the group hug he's still very excited and shoves Lloy Ball back 5 feet. This confuses Lloy but he comes back to cuddle Riley.
Anyway, I was possibly going to slash him with David Lee *shamefaced* so I went to look at his bio, and... umm... boy was kind of an ugly duckling. Like, at first I thought I was on the wrong page.
Good thing the boy has blossomed somewhat... And I thought it was an old photo or something, but then I looked at his Olympics bio...
Yeah, not really much better. He totally doesn't look like that in matches though! I also like that he had an unusual route to professional volleyball. He never played college volleyball because he was too broke and too dumb for college, so he ended up becoming a used car salesman and a warehouse supervisor when some scout told him to go play in Italy.
The announcers have been pretty tough on him, and deservedly so because for long stretches it seemed like every time he tried to spike, he would get stuffed straight down. And whenever he tried to block, he would get tooled. :( But they said that they wouldn't replace him because "none of the other players are as good a receiver as Riley Salmon. *cough* *cough* Also, suddenly in the gold medal game they had nothing but nice things to say about him so maybe he did some "receiving".
So basically he is small, yappy, a little weird, slutty with his teammates, relies on skill more than power, has a questionable shoulder tattoo and likes to leap onto teammates. Hmm, I wonder who else I like who fits that description...
I am however very sad because I don't think I'll ever see Riley Salmon play again. He's going to be 36 by the time the next Olympics rolls around and while technically not too old to play, I don't know that he's a good enough player that he'll still be effective at that age. But I did get to see him win a gold medal, and that's pretty cool. :)
(Also for all the talk of him being "undersized", the guy is 6'6". Volleyball players are a bunch of mutant freaks.)
So so so proud of the Team USA women. They improved so much during the course of the tournament. When I saw them in their first game I was like, yeah, there's no way they're getting out of the quarterfinal... To make it into the gold medal game is amazing. The Brazilian team totally deserved to win though because they had the most complete team and even though they got kinda' distracted at times, they ended up losing only one set (to the US) in the whole tournament.
I got accidentally spoiled for the men's gold medal game. :( But I'm super proud of them and totally got all weepy because their coach got weepy (his father-in-law was stabbed to death by a crazed attacker while at a tourist spot in Beijing at the start of the Olympics) and also because the men started singing the anthem while on the podium. Athletes singing their national anthem out of tune = instant weepiness for me. :P
China did not go 8 for 8 in gold medals for diving. :( The Aussie diver was really phenomenal and great to watch (and socute with his little shy smile and wave at the camera every time he got out of the pool) but I feel sad for Zhou Luxin missing his final dive. It's one thing to get beaten by someone being truly spectacular (which Mitcham was), and another to lose the gold through a mistake. :(