Tori Dixon and Ashley Wittman are used to getting up early for 6 a.m. workouts so when KARE 11 Sunrise called for them to compete in a lawn bowling tourney at 6 a.m., they were ready.
KARE 11 (NBC Twins Cities affiliate) kicked off the 2012 London Olympics by holding an on-location event at a local English establishment (Brit's Pub) in Minneapolis. The duo was among former Olympians, Minneapolis mayor R.T. Rybak, Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve and Gopher wrestling head coach J Robinson. They all competed in a lawn bowling tournament to ring in the Summer Games as the opening ceremony is today (July 27th).
Arriving at 5:45 a.m., they were greeted by KARE's Bryan Piatt, while the live show was being held in the background. The competitive juices were flowing on the rooftop as Dixon and Wittman were paired with former Olympians, including wrestler Brandon Paulson, who won a silver medal at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. If there was an award for most competitive and enthusiastic, it went to him. Having only a couple practice opportunities, Gopher Volleyball represented in their rookie performance as their team (Team USA) won by one point.
Minnesota Volleyball reports on August 7th with the first practice being held on August 8th. The Gophers start the season August 25th at the James Madison Tournament, while hosting the Diet Coke Classic on August 31st. Following the Olympics, Minnesota will welcome head coach Hugh McCutcheon. Currently the head coach of the U.S. women's Olympic team, McCutcheon will join the Gophers following the 2012 London Games.