We’re 12 weeks away from the summer Olympics in London and it’s about time you got to know some of the athletes poised to bring home gold. Over the next three months, our Better Know An Athlete series will be profiling some of America’s best and we start this week with the kings of the beach court: Todd “the Professor” Rogers and Phil “the Thin Beast” Dalhausser.
Name: Todd Rogers/Phil Dalhausser
First Year Pro: 1995/2003
Todd Rogers: AVP Most Valuable Player (2006), AVP Defensive Player of the Year (2004-2008), FIVB Defensive Player of the Year (2006-2008), FIVB Best Setter (2005).
Phil Dalhausser: Led the AVP in blocks (2005-2010), FIVB Best Hitter (2007-2010), FIVB Best Attacker (2008-2010).
Team: One Olympic gold (Beijing 2008), one World Championship gold (2007), one World Championship bronze (2009), four World Tour golds, three World Tour silvers, four World Tour bronzes.
Streaks: From July 2006 to May 2009, Rogers and Dalhausser were in the semifinals of 39 consecutive AVP team events they competed in.
From 2008 to 2010, Rogers and Dalhausser never finished lower than fifth in the 13 FIVB Grand Slam events they participated in, winning nine, finishing second in two, and rounding out the stretch with a third- and a fifth-place finish.
Worth Noting: Dalhausser is one of the few players to complete the trifecta, the triple crown of volleyball: In 2009 he led the AVP tour with aces per game (1.06), blocks per game (2.11) and hitting percentage (.498).
A Match Made in Heaven: By the time Dalhausser hit the pro tour, Rogers was coming up on a decade at the top. In 2005, he noticed "the Thin Beast" and thought he could be the best in the world. Rogers took Dalhausser under his wing as his partner and coach and their dominance since has been undisputed.
Todd Rogers on his Success: “[We’ve] been pretty consistent…We’ve been in the top five, won twice this year; we’ve always been in the mix and we’ve rarely done poorly.”
Olympic Scouting Report: Rogers and Dalhausser have lived with a target on their backs since they took the volleyball world by storm in 2006, but their stretch of dominance is coming to a close. They are still ranked number one in the world, with most pundits predicting more Olympic gold, but it won’t be a cakewalk in 2012; two teams from Brazil have given them a run for their money in recent years, and the German team has already handed them a handful of defeats on the FIVB tour. Bet Rogers and Dalhausser to place and show confidently, just don’t bank on a win.