Our Olympics Q&A series from London is back with beach volleyball reporter Heather Cox. Heather's work will be very familiar to you as one of ESPN's top sideline reporters for college football and the NBA, but she was also once a top NCAA volleyball athlete at Pacific in the early 90s. We ask Heather what it means to report on Olympic beach volleyball at one of the best venues in London.
Q: Given your history as a top volleyball player, does it mean more for you to be involved with the sport at the Games versus reporting for football or basketball?
A: It is an absolute honor to be involved in Olympic volleyball. Every athlete dreams of being an Olympian and I feel like this is the next best thing. I feel so lucky to still be involved in the sport that is so near and dear to my heart.
Q: What are the biggest challenges in preparing for calling an Olympic sport and during the event itself?
A: By far the biggest challenge is doing the research and homework on all the men's and women's teams to prepare for calling each match. It feels a bit like cramming for finals, trying to uncover storylines, motivations and tendencies for all of the teams.
We don't get to see the international teams very often in the United States…. because of the limited TV exposure in non-Olympic years.
Q: What's the most memorable aspect of being a part of the Olympic broadcast?
A: Without a doubt, seeing these world class athletes living their Olympic dream. They work so hard for years and years and to see them finally achieve their goals is very rewarding. And to be able to interview the athletes after winning gold is as good as it gets.
Q: How much of the Olympics are you able to take in as a fan? What else will you try and take part in outside the booth in London?
A: Amazingly, this is my third Olympic Games and I have yet to see another venue or sporting event. Beach volleyball takes place over the course of the entire Olympic schedule and competition is from 9am to midnight. We are all volleyball, all the time! Once the Games are complete, my family will join me, and we will do our best to see all the sights that this amazing city has to offer.
Q: How do the Games in London compare to other Olympic Games?
A: Each Olympic Games is so special and so unique... they each have their own personality. I can't say one is any better or worse than another. It's just impossible to compare. In both Athens and Beijing, our venues were a little farther away from the rest of the action, so it was more difficult to get a feel for the pulse of the each city. I think because of the location of our venue (Horse Guards Parade), in the heart of West London, I have a better feel for the Olympic scene and vibe of the city. It makes me feel like I am a little more in touch with these Games.