|Phil Bush, FIVB Broadcaster|
Over the previous three decades in athletics, you'd be hard pressed to find someone with a greater level of expertise of volleyball production and promotion than Phil Bush. He will be entering his fourth year working for the International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) as a broadcaster on the FIVB “Match of the Week.” He has also handled 17 seasons working for Fox SportsNet South, ESPNU, CSS and Sun Sports providing both play-by-play and color analysis on volleyball broadcasts. Through his MavRen Marketing & Productions company, Bush has worked in the production and promotion of volleyball events for over 25 years, including the promotion of the first ever pro beach volleyball tournaments outside of California. He will be writing a daily blog once the Olympics begin (including a preview article) previewing the next day's matches for both the men and women.
For volleyball fans, the Olympic Games are one of the few times that our sport is center stage. There are matches every day of the Games with women’s pool play beginning the day after the opening ceremony and the men’s final on the afternoon of the closing celebration. As you know, volleyball is bigger in much of the world than it is in the USA, but the Olympic Games give us a once-every-four-years opportunity to enlighten domestic sports fans about this game we love so much.
This blog series, however, is not written for the casual fan. There are many in London who will write for that audience. I have been asked by the AVCA to write, instead, for volleyball coaches. We will focus on the court game, not because the beach competition is less important, but because, presently, 99% of the AVCA members are coaching the indoor discipline.
The other unique aspect of this series is that all postings will be previews. Again, there will be a legion of reporters doing post-match analysis; my role will be to look ahead each day to the upcoming competition and to give you a scouting report designed to make your viewing or following of the action more strategic and enjoyable.
A quick overview of the Olympics format: the 12 qualifying teams are divided into two, six-team pools with each team playing an opponent every other day. The genders rotate days so a USA team will play every day for the first 10 days of the games, July 28 – August 6. The top-four finishers advance into a single elimination bracket where the number one team automatically draws the number four team from the opposite pool. The other two crossovers, i.e. A2 v. B2 or B3 and A3 v. B2 or B3, are determined by a drawing of lots.
All the USA women’s and men’s pool play matches, and likely the tournament matches as well, will be played during what is the middle of day in the United States, reflecting the five hour time difference between London and New York. USA’s pool play matches are scheduled for either 11:45 a.m. ET or 3 p.m. ET. The schedule is as follows (all times are Eastern Daylight Time):
July 28: USA W v. Korea @ 3:00 p.m. July 29: USA M v. Serbia @ 11:45 a.m.
July 30: USA W v. Brazil @ 11:45 a.m. July 31: USA M v. Germany @ 11:45 a.m.
Aug 1: USA W v. China @ 3:00 p.m. Aug 2: USA M v. Brazil @ 3:00 p.m.
Aug 3: USA W v. Serbia @ 3:00 p.m. Aug 4: USA M v. Russia @ 11:45 a.m.
Aug 5: USA W v. Turkey @ 3:00 p.m. Aug 6: USA M v. Tunisia @ 3:00 p.m.
Those of you who are working, in pre-season practice or simply in a place where it is difficult to access the live feed via one of the NBC channels, can still stay abreast of the action as it happens. Here are a few of the primary social media accounts you should follow for constant updates from across the pond.