Latvia's Martins Plavins (right) and Aleksandrs Samoilovs, ranked 21 of 24 men's beach volleyball teams, beat U.S. team Phil Dalhausser and Todd Rogers (ranked No. 1) 21-19, 21-18. Longtime Outsports photographer Brent Mullins, who has shot Dalhausser and Rogers for years, had this insight:
"If anyone was a lock for a gold, I thought it was them -- but they played poorly in the recent Long Beach event, losing badly (for the first time) to Gibb/Rosenthal -- and they just seemed off after being invincible for so long. Losing to Latvia was like having the newbie Aaron Rodgers-led Packers knock off the Patriots in the Super Bowl.
Originally there was some thought they'd play the last AVP tournament in San Diego before heading to Bejing to get their rhythm back, but they decided not to; maybe that was a bone-headed decision. Rogers, aka The Professor, is their coach, so it's not like they can blame it on anyone else (Dalhausser is known as The Beast). They have plenty of international experience, so that's not it either.
They'll figure out a way to get out of the pool and back on their feet. I think that the time change, and extreme humidity -- which they're not used to playing in -- have a bigger effect than they realized.
Then again, when your opponent is this hot across the net--could it be you were just distracted?!!"