Olympic Beach Volleyball 2012: Phil Dalhausser, Todd Rogers Still Under Radar
Quick, name a gold medal-winning tandem of American beach volleyball players currently competing at the 2012 Olympics in London.
Let me rephrase the question.
Name a gold medal-winning tandem of American beach volleyball players currently competing at the 2012 Olympic in London not named Misty May-Treanor or Kerri Walsh.
The majority of Americans wouldn't be able to come up with another duo, but Todd Rogers and Phil Dalhausser have proven they deserve an ample amount of recognition.
The pair of elite performers have carved out a place among the game's legendary teams. Since beach volleyball vaulted onto the Olympic scene at the 1996 Atlanta Games, the sport has seen a spike in popularity.
Dalhausser, age 32, and Rogers, age 38, are currently the dominating figures in the men's spectrum, which still seems slow in garnering national attention when compared to the women's competition.
Four years later, the men aren't so wide-eyed with the Olympic spectacle. They've taken a more relaxed approach during their road to a repeat.
"There was no pressure coming in here really. We talked it out a lot over the last three weeks, hey let's have fun, because we didn't have fun that first week in Beijing, it was nerve-wracking," Rogers told Reuters.
So far, so good.
Rogers and Dalhausser romped Japan's pair in pool play on Sunday, winning in straight sets (21-15, 21-16). The victory came in front of an enthusiastic and entertaining crowd (beach volleyball audiences are unlike any other at the Olympics) that packed London's coolest venue at Horse Guards Parade.
The quest for a second consecutive gold medal is underway. What would another Olympic title mean to the two Californians?
"Legacy," Rogers told USA Today.
"If we won two, you could make a pretty good argument that we're the best men's team ever." Dalhausser told reporter David Leon Moore.
Clearly, it's time to start giving these guys some accolades.
Dalhausser and Rogers currently come in at third on the all-time men's volleyball victory leader board, with 65 wins together. They only trail legendary tandems Sinjin Smith and Randy Stoklos (114) and Karch Kiraly and Kent Steffes (75).
Monetarily, the duo is behind just Kiraly-Steffes in career earnings. Another gold medal would certainly go a long way toward making up ground in that department.
It would also give the U.S. four gold medals in the sport's five-Olympic existence.
In an interview with USA Today, Rogers put the tandem's laid-back approach to global domination in perspective.
"To me, it's about keeping perspective," said Rogers, who is nicknamed The Professor. "I find that most people who put pressure on themselves to win don't play as well as they're capable of playing. I mean, we want to win. But as long as I can look back and feel we did everything we could to prepare and to compete, I'm fine with that."
The Americans continue preliminary Olympic action on Tuesday, July 31 against Spain.
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