UCLA Men’s volleyball coach John Speraw added U.S. Olympic head coach to an already impressive resume Monday, taking the reins after serving as an assistant during the last two Olympics.
“I am honored to have been selected to coach this elite group of talented U.S. players,” Speraw said. “And I appreciate UCLA’s support in allowing me to pursue this tremendous opportunity.”
USA Volleyball CEO Doug Beal told the AP he feels Speraw, who led little known UC Irvine to three national championships before being selected to coach his Alma Mater in Westwood, has plenty of international experience as well as the full support of the team after helping them to gold back in Beijing:
“He’s a terrifically talented coach who has had a remarkable level of success at the college level. He knows the current U.S. men’s player pool very well from his experiences over the last two quads.”
Speraw will officially be introduced Tuesday at the American Sports Centers down in Anaheim, where he’ll train the team for a shot at reclaiming gold in Rio.
It has been 300 days since Jim Craig first announced he would sell a bundle of his “Miracle on Ice” memorabilia, including his gold medal, for $5.7 million.
They didn’t sell last year. So he took most of the items in the original bundle and is splitting them up in an auction that runs though June 17.
On Tuesday, Craig said he had no thoughts about keeping the most precious items in the 10 months in between sales.
“We wanted to sell an entire collection to a person that would have the financial means to be able to display it, hopefully that everybody would be able to come and enjoy it like they have the last 35 years,” Craig said. “It’s a lot better than being tucked in a closet.”
There are a few items from the original bundle that Craig decided not to auction this time around — a 1980 Sports Illustrated Sportsmen of the Year trophy, two watches that he gave to his kids and an Olympic ring.
VIDEO: Which Miracle item is toughest for Craig to sell?
Christie Rampone, the 40-year-old captain of the 2015 U.S. Women’s World Cup team, has yet to return to full fitness after December knee surgery and pulled out of a U.S. camp ahead of two pre-Olympic friendlies in June.
Her bid for a fifth Olympics, and to become the oldest U.S. Olympic soccer player of all time, is in danger.
The camp begins Friday. The friendlies against rival Japan (which failed to qualify for Rio) are June 2 and June 5.
“I don’t feel 100 percent healthy enough to train and compete at that level,” Rampone said in a press release Tuesday. “I’ve been able to manage myself and contribute to Sky Blue [her club team] this season, which I will continue to do, but I also have an understanding of the level of fitness and health needed to push for an Olympic roster spot, and I know I’m not there right now. It’s not the right choice for myself or the team to put myself in that environment.”
Rampone, a defender, hasn’t played for the U.S. since her December arthroscopic knee surgery. At the 2015 Women’s World Cup, she played a total of 14 minutes.
The U.S. national team is currently without nine players from the 23-player World Cup team, though some are expected back for the Olympics, but only one of the missing other than Rampone is a defender (the retired Lori Chalupny).
The U.S. Olympic women’s soccer team for London was named in May 2012, but the Rio roster of 18 players is expected to be announced by early July.
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