WOMEN'S OLYMPIC VOLLEYBALL TEAM
Atari sponsors a gold medal effortBy DAVID BARRY
The time is fast approaching that will test the mettle of the Atari-sponsored U.S. Women's Volleyball Team. And the testing will be tough; the U.S. is up against some formidable opponents.
Eight teams have qualified for the Olympic sport of volleyball this summer in Los Angeles: The U.S., which receives an automatic slot as the host country; the U.S.S.R., the 1980 defending champion; China, the 1982 World Champion; and five other teams selected from the five continental championships in 1983: East Germany, Brazil, Japan, Peru, and Cuba.
The teams will be broken into two pools, with three round-robin matches slated for each team.
World ranking now places China in the number-one spot and the U.S., number two. But to capture the gold and displace China from its throne, the U.S. must be mighty sharp. China is an awesome squad.
In April, Atari sponsored a six-city tour of the United States in which the U.S. team played China. It was the last chance for the two top teams to play before the Olympics this summer, and China was clearly the dominant force. Their team won five of the six matches, moving so quickly on defense that it was difficult for the U.S. to penetrate and score. Chinese sensation Lang Ping led their offensive force with her brilliant spiking power. At the time, however, U.S. coach, Arie Selinger, pointed out that top-line American players were injured, including Rita Crockett, a 5' 8" hitter/blocker who only weeks earlier had undergone knee surgery; Debbie Green, the team's best setter who was recovering from a dislocated ankle; and Julie Vollersten, who had also undergone knee surgery.
The U.S. team was scheduled to play matches against Japan and the U.S.S.R. between April and the Olympics in July. After those matches they would spend the rest of their time at the computerized facilities in Coto de Caza for rehabilitative work and final preparation before the big one in July. (By the time you read this, we all may be privy to the fate of our team!)
ITEMS OF INTEREST
An interesting situation occurred at the University of California at Berkeley, during the last match of the China series. In the first game of the match, with the game tied 10-10, Coach Selinger halted the game, insisting that the video cameras filming the game be removed. According to Selinger, the Japanese had been doing their best to study the U.S. team (perhaps through digitization, digitized images used to analyze body movements, an old Dr. Gideon Ariel trick). But Selinger was wise to the world of computer-aided research, and nipped the plot in the bud. The cameras were removed before the game proceeded. Selinger noted that once before, "Japan actually had a videotape in their hands the second day after we played."
... Coach Selinger was very impressed with the turnout at Harmon Gym on April 24th. One of Selinger's expressed aims when he assumed coaching responsibilities in 1975, aside from capturing the gold medal, was to "promote volleyball in this country and bring it to a higher level of skill." Nine years later Selinger was quite impressed with his efforts, as spectators in the jam-packed rafters of the Harmon Gym loudly supported the U.S. Women's Volleyball Team. Said Selinger, "This is the first time in the history of the team that there was a pre-game sellout. I wouldn't mind if we had another game here. I'd love to have another crowd like that."
As sponsor of that six-city tour in April, Atari was very much in evidence. At Harmon Gym in Berkeley, Atari arcade games were set up beneath large banners proclaiming Atari the official home computer of the Olympics.
... As part of its further involvement in the Olympic activities, Atari will be sponsoring two kilometers of the approximately 15,000 kilometer U.S. torch run. As is the Olympic custom, the torch must be carried from Greece to the site of the new Olympics, this year in Los Angeles. The Los Angeles Organizing Committee this year has sold portions of the run to sponsorships and other organizations that can muster the $3,000 commitment.
The U.S. leg of the relay begins in New York City on May 8, and ends 82 days later at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum after passing through all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
Atari chose two employees at their April 14th "Carry the Torch!" Fun Run to carry the torch for their portion of the run. Festivities are planned for the segment of the run which will pass through the San Francisco Bay Area sometime in July.
... Atari has also helped compile a 3 minute 7 second video clip of the outstanding development of the U.S. Women's Volleyball Team. The clip shows the team at their facilities in Coto de Caza, and chronicles their dramatic rise from unranked status to their current number-two ranking.
The clip is being distributed nationally to major networks, so look for the Atari video clip on the tube.
This is the final article in our Olympic coverage. Part I appeared
in the February issue, Part II appeared in the March issue, and Part III
appeared in the April anniversary issue. -ANTIC ED