Fourth-Place Medal

Beach volleyballers might cover up for Olympics

They call soccer the "beautiful game," but an argument could be made that beach volleyball is the most beautiful game. Wives might object to their husbands sitting in front of the TV and watching tall bikini-clad women jumping and diving in the sand if it weren't for the fact that volleyball is a legitimate Olympic sport.

But on the horizon there is a storm (or, simply put, English weather), and it could cause volleyball players to bundle up in the equivalent of long underwear instead of bathing suits. The forecast calls for highs in the 60s early next week, with up to a 30 percent chance of rain. When you factor in night matches, that's not exactly bikini weather. Some beach volleyball players are ready to take precaution.

[Photos: Olympics beach volleyball players]

"We need it to keep our muscles warm," said Australian Tamsin Hinchley.

Nevertheless, beach volleyball is expected to draw crowds -- some half a million are predicted to come out for about 100 matches -- despite a relatively brief stint at the Olympics. It was introduced at the 1996 Games in Atlanta.

It's not like it's "Baywatch-with-a-ball," but if the weather doesn't cooperate, NBC may want to trot out some reruns of Sydney circa 2000 to avoid a ratings hit.

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