The United States women’s volleyball group has fair one thing on their mind: Olympic gold.
In the final three Olympics, they’ve come achingly close but the hardware they’ve walked away with has always been not very the color they were after.
Beijing 2008 it was silver; in London 2012 it was silver once more; at that point Rio 2016, it was bronze.
In Tokyo 2020, a medal is guaranteed. Team USA put on a classy show within the semi-finals on Friday (7 June) to remove early award top choices Serbia, driven by the indomitable Tijana Bosokovic, 25-19, 25-15, 25-23.
It was something of a revenge act as Serbia denied the Americans a chance at an elusive gold in Rio after they advanced to the gold medal match leaving Team USA with only bronze to fight for.
The U.S. put on a performance that was both quick and deft. It was carefully engineered by coach Karch Kiraly and executed perfectly by his hungry players.
In his ranks, there are maybe two stars that are justifiably hungrier than most.
For Foluke Akinradewo Gunderson and Jordan Larson, Olympic gold is not just a dream – it’s also personal.
The two volleyball veterans have been with the U.S. Olympic group since 2012 – they know all as well well what decoration heartache feels like.
But presently the time has come to leave the harmed behind; now the final awaits.
Like a warning shot loaded with an aim, 34-year-old Larson was clear after their semi-final success how she and her colleagues were arranging to approach their medal match.
“People say we’re reaching to be beneath so much weight since we’ve never won the gold award. But we’re beneath no pressure since we’ve never done it.”
Foluke Akinradewo: the fight for first ever volleyball gold
For Akinradewo Gunderson triumph on the court in Tokyo would have an extra taste of sweetness to it.
Just getting to her third Olympic Games required colossal strength and versatility.
“I was just in my garage working out for months by myself with Zoom,” Akinradewo Gunderson shared with Olympics.com ahead of the Games. “It was July when I to begin with came back to the exercise center with the coaches.”
“I feel like I’ve become more of a feminist through this process of becoming a mom and just knowing that women are badasses,” Akinradewo Gunderson said.