The 2008 U.S. Olympic Games roster blends experience with youth as eight players have played in previous Olympic Games. At age 35, middle blocker Danielle Scott-Arruda (Baton Rouge, La.) has been selected to her fourth Olympic Games roster to tie a USA Volleyball record shared with Tara Cross-Battle, who played in her fourth Olympics in 2004. Scott-Arruda has competed in the 1996, 2000 and 2004 Olympic Games. She has been a part of the U.S. Women’s National Team since May 1994.
“I am overly elated to be selected to my fourth Olympic Games,” Scott-Arruda said. “It was an emotional moment for all of us, though, to be selected. Jenny called us in by groups to tell us who was selected. It was an awesome moment when my name was called.”
Players selected to their third Olympic Games include setter Robyn Ah Mow-Santos (Honolulu), outside hitter Logan Tom (Salt Lake City, Utah), middle blocker Heather Bown (Yorba Linda, Calif.) and libero Stacy Sykora (Burleson, Texas). Opposite Tayyiba Haneef-Park (Laguna Hills, Calif.), setter Lindsey Berg (Honolulu) and outside hitter Ogonna Nnamani (Bloomington, Ill.) are all repeat selections from the 2004 Athens Olympic Games.
Newcomers to the Olympic Games are outside hitters Kim Glass (Lancaster, Pa.) and Kim Willoughby (Napoleonville, La.), middle blocker Jennifer Joines (Milpitas, Calif.) and libero Nicole Davis (Stockton, Calif.).
“For me, making this Olympic team is incredible,” Davis said. “I have been anticipating this moment for four years. However, nothing is ever for certain. It’s been a long journey, and I've had to learn a lot in the last couple of years to make it this far. I have never been so excited to get back into the gym with my teammates and begin preparation again. My teammates continue to inspire me, and I feel honored to be part of this group, it’s such a unique opportunity. Now I can let go and just play.”
According to Davis, the roster announcement day was a roller-coaster of emotions starting with Team USA’s victory over China and concluding with who made the Olympic Team.
“The day the roster was announced was an emotional day for everyone,” Davis said. “Most of us had been traveling for more than three weeks, we had all been keenly aware of the day and its significance. We had won a very emotional, intense five-set thriller against China early in the day and then had all afternoon/evening off as the coaches met and made their final decisions.
“Going into the meeting I was anxious. At that point, I had come to the realization that I gave everything I could to make the team, knowing full well that there were things I could have done better, but that I had competed to the best of my ability, and that's all you can hope for. The team was announced by position, and by the time the others were announced we (Stacy and I) knew we would both be going. Many of the girls were crying, some of the coaches were crying.”
Lang Ping expressed the long evaluation period helped the coaching staff make better, more informed decisions regarding the roster composition.
– but the sailors praise the new boats