08.19.08

Georgia on My Mind

Posted in Olympics at 8:14 am by Benjamin Ross

Georgia Olympic beach volleyball team
Geor (right) and Gia embrace after defeating Holland to advance to the semi-finals

With its Michael Phelpses and Kobe Bryants and Yao Mings, the Beijing Olympics have been as star-studded as everybody anticipated. But between all the big names, there are other talented athletes, whose accomplishments are equally as impressive, but remain anonymous to most of the world.

With this in mind, I want to give a shout out to my favorite Olympians thus far, the Georgian men’s beach volleyball team. Faced with the distraction of their country being at war, these two athletes (who according to official scoring are surnamed “Geor” and “Gia”) defeated Holland yesterday to advance to the semi-finals. It was the second day I had seen them in action, and in each match they entertained the crowd with both their skills in volleyball and their charisma on the court. As soon as the final point hit the sand, Gia jumped a barricade, ran through the crowd high-fiving fans, and ascended to the top the stadium. With his right hand, he pointed directly up to the Georgian flag, rocking his fist and then banging his chest. The entire crowd, only a small handful of whom were from Georgia, roared in applause. This is what the Olympics are all about.

Update: Thanks to information supplied by several readers (and confirmed through my own Internet research) I have become aware that Geor and Gia are actually Brazilians who obtained Georgian citizenship just before the Olympics. This doesn’t take away from their volleyball ability (nor from Gia’s flashy hairstyle), but it sure does diminish the sentimental aspect of their run. So much for my feel good story of this Olympics.

2 Comments »

  1. Lucia China said,

    August 20, 2008 at 3:00 pm

    The Georgian beach volleyball team is actually made up of two Brazilians who got Georgian passports to compete in the Olympics. Their real names, according to the official Olympics web site, are Jorge Terceiro and Renato Gomes.

  2. Benjamin Ross China said,

    August 20, 2008 at 5:17 pm

    @Lucia
    Thanks for the info. Is it just me, or are the rules determining one’s “home country” just a wee bit lax? From what I gather, if I wanted to participate in the Olympics, I would be eligible to compete for the USA, Poland, Russia, Ukraine, Germany, or Israel. Although I’d probably have to have some kind of athletic ability as well.

    Regardless, I will still be rooting for Geor and Gia. Wherever they’re from, these guys can really play volleyball, and they’re fun to watch!

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