Team USA’s hopes of winning a first Olympic gold medal in women’s volleyball were hit on Saturday when they suffered a straight-set defeat against the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) team on top of losing ace spiker Jordan Thompson to injury in Tokyo Olympics.
Thompson hurt her ankle in the second set of the game and did not return to the court, watching on from the sidelines with tears streaming down her face as ROC won 25-20 25-12 25-19.
The opposite hitter of the United States is competing in her first Olympic Games. Thompson has been her country’s breakout star after top-scoring in their first three wins which included a spellbinding 34-points effort against defending champions China.
“I would think that probably is unlikely for (Monday’s final pool game against) Italy and maybe hopeful for something beyond that,” US coach Karch Kiraly was quoted as saying by Reuters on Thompson’s future involvement in the tournament.
Thompson’s first major tournament play with the USA National
Team came in 2019 during the 2020 Summer Olympics qualifier tournament, where
she helped Team USA qualify for the Olympics. She was one of just three players
on Team USA’s qualifying roster with collegiate eligibility and was the only
one of the three to see playing time.
She was chosen to represent the USA at the 2019 FIVB Volleyball
Women’s Nations League, where she scored 33 points versus Brazil in the Finals
Round pool play. US eventually won the gold medal in the tournament. In May 2021, she was
selected to again represent the US at the 2021 FIVB Volleyball Women’s Nations
League. She had a match-high 17 points in USA’s sweep of Thailand.
Her big day came on June 7, 2021, when US National Team head
coach announced that she would be part of the 12-player Olympic roster for the
Summer Games in Tokyo.