Follow Todd Rogers on the Beach in Beijing

Aug. 5, 2008

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SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - The FIVB recently released the preliminary round schedule for beach volleyball at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, China and former Gaucho Todd Rogers begins his quest for a medal on Saturday, August 9.

Rogers and partner Phil Dalhausser, both competing in their first Olympic Games, will open play against Samoilovs and Plavins of Latvia. The match will take place at 9 p.m. (local time) at the 12,000-seat Chaoyang Park Volleyball Ground.

Todd and Phil qualified for the Olympics with more points than any other team, but will settle for the No. 2 seed as a FIVB rule states that a host country ranked in the top six will receive the top seed. Rogers and Dalhausser are in Pool B along with teams from Switzerland, Argentina, and Latvia.

A total of 24 teams will compete on both the men's and women's sides. Also representing the United States are the squads of Jake Gibb/Sean Rosenthal, Misty May-Treanor/Kerri Walsh, and Nicole Branagh/Elaine Youngs.

The top two teams of each pool advance to the knockout round of 16, along with the two best third-place teams. The remaining four third-place teams play two playoff matches to determine the final two places in the Round of 16 (referred to as Lucky Losers).

The second pool match for Rogers and Dalhausser will be against Heyer and Heuscher of Switzerland at 10 p.m. on Monday, August 11. The duo completes pool play on Wednesday, August 13 (9 a.m.) vs. Argentina's Conde and Baracetti.

The men's Lucky Losers matches will be contested on Thursday, August 14.

Beach volleyball debuted at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta. In the All-American men's final, Karch Kiraly and Kent Steffes downed Mike Dodd and Mike Whitmarsh to win the inaugural gold medal.

At the 2000 Games in Sydney, Americans Dain Blanton and Eric Fonoimoana (also a former Gaucho), who many suspected would not even qualify for the Olympics, upset a Brazilian team to take the gold.

It was all about the women at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. May and Walsh went 7-0 (in straight sets) to bring the U.S. its first gold medal in women's beach volleyball. Holly McPeak and Youngs took home the bronze.

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