Posted Jul 30, 2012By Mark KiszlaThe Denver Post
LONDON — Alert the guards. There’s a new dress code at Buckingham Palace. Bikini required. Shoes optional.
On a blessed plot no more than a stone’s throw away from England’s realm of kings, the song "Sexy and I Know It" by LMFAO rattled the walls of century-old buildings before lunch here Monday. Four scantily-attired women played volleyball in the sand. A crowd of more than 10,000 spectators went wild.
Spent from sensory overload, I’m recovering from my Olympic beach volleyball indoctrination by eating brie and sun-dried tomato on flat bread. An amiable chap named Guido wants to tell me a secret.
"It’s not about the bikini," confides Guido Betti, whose mission at the Olympics is to make beach volleyball hipper than the modern pentathlon. So far, it’s working.
"This sport is about the reason you go to the beach. We are under the sun. And people go to see the skin, because that’s human nature," Betti said.
God save the queen.
What in heavens name are the Olympics coming to when the appeal of a tan gluteus maximus in a teenie-weenie bikini starts to count more than citius, altius, fortius?
Well, it’s a sure sign the Summer Games can take the temperature of 21st century culture every bit as well as Simon Cowell. At an Olympics where there have been too many stiff upper lips and not enough sunshine, the beach volleyball venue is where London goes to let its hair down.
The giant sand box and net have been placed in lovely Horse Guards Parade. It’s an well-calculated culture shock, as if the U.S. president had set up a roller derby track on the White House lawn. But it’s also the most smashing success of London 2012, because the atmosphere is very cheeky and the action is extremely loud and incredibly close.
To stay vital, the Olympic movement must keep evolving. Beach volleyball, like mixed martial arts, is a sport that has found a new audience that really digs it.
In London, what the Royals are to families, volleyball players are to the Games. They make you look.
"This is more than a sport. It’s a lifestyle," said American medal contender Jennifer Kessy, who instinctively understands her sport is tapping into the same vein of gold mined by snowboarder Shaun White at the Winter Games.
Stop gawking and you will see the truth.
Beach volleyball really isn’t about the bikini.
It’s about the wink. It’s a fresh reminder sports are nothing if not fun.
Fun sells even better than you know what.
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