Saturday, 13 Jul 2024

Gold Dust: Remembering the US Men at Beijing 2008

The 2008 U.S. Men’s Olympic Volleyball Team holds a special place in our hearts as we celebrate the 10th anniversary of their gold medal victory. Their journey to success was marked by determination, resilience, and an unwavering team spirit.

The Road to Beijing

Heading into the 2008 season, the U.S. Men’s National Team had already shown great promise. They had secured a third-place finish at the 2007 FIVB World League, their best performance since 1992. Building upon this success, Head Coach Hugh McCutcheon convinced three-time Olympic setter Lloy Ball to rejoin the team, and together they clinched victory at the 2007 NORCECA Championship in Anaheim, Calif.

However, their path to the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing was not without obstacles. Only the top three teams from the 2007 FIVB World Cup would qualify, and the U.S. Men finished fourth. It wasn’t until January 11, 2008, when they emerged triumphant at the 2008 NORCECA Olympic Qualification Championship in Caguas, Puerto Rico, that they secured their spot.

The team’s confidence soared when they won their first-ever FIVB World League title in July, adding to their momentum as they headed to Beijing.

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Beijing 2008: Triumph and Tragedy

The Beijing Olympic Games were a momentous event filled with unforgettable moments. The U.S. Men’s Team found themselves in the midst of both triumph and tragedy.

The Games kicked off with a spectacular Opening Ceremony on August 8, featuring mesmerizing performances and a sense of grandeur. The following day, while the team was practicing at Beijing Normal University, devastating news reached them. Head Coach Hugh McCutcheon’s wife, Elisabeth “Wiz” McCutcheon, and her parents had been attacked while sightseeing. Elisabeth’s father, Todd Bachman, tragically lost his life, while her mother was seriously injured.

In light of the situation and the uncertainty surrounding the attack, the U.S. Men’s and Women’s Teams were moved out of the Olympic Village to a hotel and provided with extra security. The team banded together, showing resilience in the face of adversity.

A Display of Strength

Despite the emotional turmoil, the U.S. Men’s Team remained focused on their goal. On August 10, they played their first Olympic match against Venezuela, facing a larger media presence than usual. Assistant Coach Ron Larsen stepped up to guide the team, supported by an exceptional coaching staff.

Their opening match against Venezuela proved to be a challenging one, but the team’s unity prevailed as they secured a 3-2 victory. This was a testament to their belief in the power of teamwork.

The U.S. Men went on to defeat both Italy and Bulgaria, showcasing their determination and skill on the court. Head Coach Hugh McCutcheon rejoined the team on August 16 after his family had safely returned to the United States. The team rallied together, and under McCutcheon’s leadership, they continued to excel.

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The Journey to Gold

The U.S. Men’s Team concluded the pool play with a convincing win against Japan, solidifying their position as a strong contender. In the quarterfinals, they faced intense pressure as the stakes were high – a loss would mean the end of their Olympic journey. However, they rose to the occasion, securing a hard-fought victory over their opponents.

The semifinals brought another nail-biting match against Russia. The U.S. took an early lead but faced a setback as Russia won the next two sets. With the game hanging in the balance, middle blocker David Lee stepped up, scoring crucial points that propelled the U.S. Men to a thrilling victory and a spot in the gold medal match against Brazil.

On August 24, just hours before the Olympic Closing Ceremony, the U.S. Men’s indoor volleyball team took center stage. They faced Brazil in a pulsating match that kept spectators on the edge of their seats. After dropping the first set, the U.S. rallied back, winning the next two sets. In a nail-biting fourth set, the U.S. Men delivered a stunning comeback, securing a well-deserved victory and clinching the gold medal.

The elation that filled the air was immeasurable. The players and staff celebrated their hard-earned victory, basking in the glory of their remarkable achievement. The 2008 U.S. Men’s Olympic Volleyball Team had etched their names into history, leaving a lasting legacy for future generations.


Q: How did the U.S. Men’s National Team qualify for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing?
A: The U.S. Men’s National Team secured their spot at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing by winning the 2008 NORCECA Olympic Qualification Championship in Caguas, Puerto Rico.

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Q: How did the team cope with the tragedy surrounding Head Coach Hugh McCutcheon’s family?
A: In the face of immense tragedy, the team rallied together, providing support and strength to one another. They moved out of the Olympic Village to a hotel and received extra security to ensure their safety.


The 2008 U.S. Men’s Olympic Volleyball Team’s journey to gold in Beijing was a testament to their resilience, unity, and unwavering determination. They overcame challenges and tragedy to emerge victorious, etching their names into history. Their remarkable achievement serves as an inspiration to athletes and fans around the world, reminding us of the power of teamwork, perseverance, and the pursuit of excellence.

Join us in celebrating their triumph and reliving the extraordinary moments that define the legacy of the 2008 U.S. Men’s Olympic Volleyball Team. To learn more about their journey and stay up to date with the latest volleyball news, visit our website at