By Jimmy Im
While the London games may be over, the Olympic buzz was reignited this past weekend on Waikiki Beach in Oahu, Hawaii. Hilton HHonors and USA Volleyball hosted the first ever Beach Volleyball Challenge, bringing Olympic medalists to compete against each other in exciting, live matches.
US Olympic, three-time Gold Medalist Kerri Walsh Jennings and US Olympian Kevin Wong hosted the challenge on Saturday, October 20, which was free to the public. Hundreds of fans gathered around the court on the beach of Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort as Team USA challenged Team China in three bouts: Men’s challenge, Women’s Challenge and a friendly, mixed game with all 8 players.
The USA men’s team comprised Olympic Gold Medalist Todd Rogers and Phil Dalhausser, which officially marked the last time the duo will play together. London 2012 Olympic favorites Jen Kessy and April Ross (Olympic Silver Medalists) represented the women’s team.
For China, Wu Penggen and Linyin “Tiny” Xu played for the men’s team, and Chen Xue and Xi Zhang (both Olympic Bronze Medalists) for the women’s team.
All athletes posed for photo opps and signed autographs in Hilton HHonor’s VIP Tent, and some lucky fans were treated to free T-shirts, sunglasses and mini-volleyballs signed by all the players and hosts.
The games were thrilling and nail-biting, and the rest of the world will have a chance to watch the full Hilton HHonors Volleyball Challenge as it will be broadcast on NBC in the US on November 3 (men) and Dec 1 (women). Because we were front and center at the games, this means we already know who wins—but our lips are sealed!
For more about the event, check out our Postcard from Kerri Walsh.