The day after the last spots at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro 2016 were claimed by Italy, Netherlands, Korea and Japan (from WOQT in Japan) and Puerto Rico (from WOQT in Puerto Rico), pools of the women’s volleyball competition can be finally confirmed.
The pools formula repeats the one prior to the Olympics in London 2012. Twelve teams split into two pools of six were set up through serpentine system based on FIVB Ranking from January 2016. Brazil, as the host of the Rio 2016, were automatically placed in pool A, with the following best team placed in pool B.
All teams will play in round robin system during pool round with the best four form each pool advancing to the quarter-final round.
Full list of Rio 2016 participants
World Cup 2015 winner and runner-up
Continental Olympic Qualifiers winners
Top four teams of World Olympic Qualifier in Japan
Winner of World Olympic Qualifier in Puerto Rico
Pool A top team, hosts Brazil, will be joined by Russia (fourth in the FIVB Ranking), Japan (fifth), Korea (eighth), Argentina (ninth) and Cameroon (21st). USA (first) opens Pool B followed by China (second), Serbia (sixth), Italy (seventh), Netherlands (14th) and Puerto Rico (16th).
Rio 2016 Podium
Who will top the podium at the Olympic Games in August? Last two Games (Beijing 2008, London 2012) seen Brazil with gold medals with USA as their runner-up. In Beijing China claimed the bronze, while Japan took the last step of the podium in London. Will the last Olympic podium be repeated? According to Giovanni Guidetti, coach of Netherlands, Brazil, USA and China have the biggest chances for Olympic medals.
Brazil’s star Thaisa, who is up for her third Olympic gold, perhaps won in home of her home crowd, sees USA as her team’s main opponent at the Olympics. The middle blocker however knows her own team’s strength.
[quote cite=’Thaisa’]The Americans speed up their game to a level I have not seen so far. They are our toughest opponent. At the same time, we know we are a very difficult opponent, the defending champions, twice Olympic champions.[/quote]
USA’s outside hitter Kelsey Robinson assures that team’s focus doesn’t go as far as their next task, whether it’s a game or practice. The player has an advantage of playing with with USA’s starter setter Alisha Glass during club season in Italian Imoco Volley. In most recent interview with Volleyverse, Kelsey stressed her team’s best weapon ahead of Olympics.
[quote cite=’Kelsey Robinson’]I think we have a really strong team and we have a lot of great assets in the fact that we have older members who have experience and young players who bring new energy and excitement. We have a lot of people who bring so many different things to the team and that what makes us strong. It gives us depth in the fact that anyone can play and I think that year will be big for us.[/quote]