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Polish Olympic News

31 lipca, 2012

Olympic Notes from the Rolco Sports Network.

Beach Volleyball Perfect for Sopot
Poland competed in Olympic beach volleyball for the first time and on prime time television in America had a giant victory. The Polish duo of Mariusz Prudel and Grzegorz Fijałek beat veteran USA tandem of Gibb/Rosenthall (2-0). Beach Volleyball is getting plenty of attention.

The event is also a perfect business opportunity for any of the resorts, pubs and restaurants along the Baltic coast. The activity was born from beach recreation and competitions in California. The activity has now morphed into a professional sport. It can be co-ed, recreational and also a fitness exercise. Most attractive for the sport is that it is a low cost activity and has eye appeal for younger viewers.

Prudel and Fijałek of Poland are making their Olympic debut in a sport long dominated by just a few countries, like Australia, Brazil and the United States. Prudel, 26, from Rybnik, started playing on the international circuit in 2005. Fijałek, 25, hails from Łódź.

It’s the first time for Poland (with beach volleyball) in the Olympics, so it’s a very big experience for everyone,” Prudel said. “We will see how we play. I hope there will be a good celebration afterward. I think we can do something special. To be where we are and playing good, it’s a celebration already.”

Each team has two persons. There are plenty of high fives, with lots of hugging and dupa patting. Sometimes it is a signal but mostly it is a form of congratulations. With scantily clad cheerleaders and loud music during the stoppage of play there is also plenty of beer sales in the stadium.

Beach volleyball is a huge hit here and one of the most popular competitions. Even though it is still relatively new on the Olympic program it is a hard ticket to come by. It didn’t become a medal sport until the 1996 Atlanta Games.

Women’s beach volleyball seems to have a stronger spectator attraction, here at Horse Guards Parade. Every match regardless of countries playing is filled at the temporary stadium structure. The sport has the right demographics for sponsors.

Still, the Polish beach volleyball players realize they play a part in educating those back home. They must become ambassadors for the sport to grow. After the Olympics, the resort village of Stare Jablonki, Poland will host a Federation International De Volleyball SWATCH Grand Slam Tournament, August 13-19. The beach volleyball Olympic finals will be televised on August 8th and 9th.

Larysa Latynina, 77, of southern Ukraine (Kherson) was the most successful Olympic athlete ever. At these 2012 Olympics she had to buy her own ticket for herself and her daughter to see Michael Phelps break her medals record. Since the late 50’s she had won 18 Olympic medals. Nobody, in her sport or any other, has owned more Olympic medals than she.

She won gold at the1956, 1960 and 1964 Olympic Games.

Back in the day, she won a gymnastics world championship, while hiding the fact she was four months pregnant. “I’m quite happy there is a man in the world who can overcome my record, finally,” she said in front of her daughter, Tatiana.

She organized the gymnastics competition at the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow. Now in retirement she lives on an estate near the town Semenovskoye, in the Moscow region. “Each Olympics had its own special things to remember,” she added.

Most of Tennis Gets Rained Out
World number two, Agnieszka Radwanska endured more Center Court woe as the Polish second seed was beaten 7-5, 6-7 (5/7), 6-4 by Germany’s Julia Goerges. This was just less than a month after her Wimbledon final defeat to Serena Williams.

The 23-year-old was the first Pole to reach a Grand Slam singles final since 1939 when she got to this year\'s Wimbledon title match. This achievement lifted her to a career-high second place in the world rankings.

Radwanska was unable to recapture that Wimbledon magic and stumbled to a lackluster Olympic defeat against the world number 24. Goerges, who served 20 aces and hit 56 winners, will play Varvara Lepchenko of the United States or Paraguay’s Veronica Cepede-Royg in the last 32.

Most of the tennis has been delayed because of rain. Radwanska will try and regroup for doubles play.

Track and Field Hopeful Gets Marketing Help
Marek Plawgo, 31, of Ruda Slaska will make his third career Olympic appearance for Poland this summer in London. His strong international pedigree will put him in contention for a medal in the men’s 400m hurdles. He finished sixth in the event at the 2004 Games in Athens.

A giant photo of Plawgo along with Aaron Cook of Great Britain and Naide Gomes of Portugal was selected by VISA as one of their three life size TEAM VISA banners plastered all over the Olympic Village and Olympic

Pair Win Schedule Battle with Organizing Committee
Poland’s Robert Mateusiak and Nadiezda Zieba have successfully challenged a change to the London 2012 badminton program that left them playing twice in one day. The mixed doubles pair complained after the Badminton World Federation (BWF) announced dramatic revisions to the playing schedule on the eve of the competition. Mateusiak and Zieba are contenders for gold.

Without the changes it would have meant the European champions having to play both the Danish pair of Joachim Fischer and Christinna Pedersen and Canadians Toby Ng and Grace Gao on the same day. They were initially told after the draw was made that they would open the competition against the Canadians on Saturday.

The BWF made the alterations after realising they had not followed their own regulations concerning group matches when drawing up the schedule. The rules stipulate that when using a round-robin stage, as they are for the first round in London, the highest-ranked participants in each group must play the lowest first.

Poland’s men’s team, which won the maiden World League title over the defending Olympic champions from the United States, is in the hunt for London medals. “I’m really happy, with the progression of our team,” said Poland’s Italian coach Andrea Anastasi. The Polish National men’s volleyball team earned a large cash bonus for winning that championship in Bulgaria.

The Polish men won their first match over the highly rated Italians here at the Earls Court. The large turnout of British-Poles raised the roof. “It was like a home game for us,” said Anastasi. The Polish players encouraged the spectators to get involved.

Top scorer Bartosz Kurek delighted the audience with a dive under the scorer’s table to try and save point. “Team captain Marcin Mozdzonek added post game, “A lot of Polish people live in London and they love volleyball. We counted on this happening.” The London Olympic medal matches will be August 11th and 12th

Still to Keep Watch - on the ‘TELLY’
Other 2012 Olympians expected to medal are Tomasz Majewski, who won gold at the men’s shot-put in Beijing, discus thrower Piotr Malachowski and weightlifter Marcin Dolega. The men’s quadruple skulls rowing team is considered a favorite also. Magdalena Fularczyk and Julia Michalska reached the women’s double skulls finals on Friday, August 3rd. Poland sent 216 athletes from 22 different sports.

Pin trading is a popular activity for spectators, locals and participants of the games. Coca-Cola, a longtime sponsor of the Olympics, will again highlight the United Kingdom, by having pin-centers for collecting. There are 182 official Coke-Cola 2012- London Olympic pins. Also, Coca-Cola selected deserving young people, who added to their communities through sports and arts to participate in carrying the torch.

London Philharmonic Records 205 National Anthems
When Poland wins a gold medal at these London games the National anthem will be played when the champion comes to the podium. The recorded music was done by the famous London Philharmonic Orchestra at the historic Abbey Road Studios in London. Olympic rules dictate that each anthem must be between 60 and 90 seconds, so there is enough time to raise the flag on the winner’s podium. The official title of the Polish anthem is Mazurek Dabrowskiego (Dabrowski’s Mazurka), also called Jeszcze Polska nie zginela (Poland has not yet perished)

Raymond Rolak,
Lars Hjelmroth and
Jacek Adamski