Volleyball's Mullin blown away by Games
August 3, 2012 15:20 pm
Britain's beach volleyball star Shauna Mullin has been left "dazed and confused" by her Horse Guards Parade experience, but she can rest assured she is not alone in being blown away by the Olympics' standout venue.
Mullin and team-mate Zara Dampney bowed out of the competition on Thursday night after a straight-sets loss to Austria in a lucky loser play-off, their third defeat in four games.
The high point for the duo came early when they beat Canada's Marie-Andree Lessard and Annie Martin in their opening preliminary phase match, but that sadly proved a false dawn.
That win was the only one from seven matches involving British teams - the men's pair of Steven Grotowski and John Garcia-Thompson lost all their pool matches - but the lack of home success did little to dilute the party atmosphere at the 15,000-seater arena.
Dancing girls, conga lines, an inspired musical playlist and even the distinctive commentary of Peter Dickson - he of X-Factor voiceover fame - have come together in a cauldron of fun and frivolity in this normally sober corner of central London.
The location has been key to the event's success. Flanked by St James's Park and the gardens of 10 Downing Street, the venue boasts stunning views, with the Old Admiralty Building, Big Ben, the London Eye and even the Shard all within the gaze of spectators in the St James's Stand.
It will be a wrench for the British players to pack up and leave the venue for the final time, and Mullin admits it will take time for the past six days to sink in, and for any decision to be taken on what the future holds for herself and Dampney.
"We'll look back at this and really enjoy it - but we're just a bit dazed and confused now it's over," said Mullin. "It's time to go back and spend some time with family and friends, it's been a long road for us. We've been working hard for this moment for five years to get here and now that it's over we'll have to sit down and think where we go from here."
Speculation is growing that beach volleyball's World Tour could be persuaded to hold an event in this country on the back of the Games, a prospect welcomed by Dampney.
"The Olympics is hopefully a springboard for better things for beach volleyball in this country," she said. "We need to start a petition to get a grand slam event here."
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