Watch Your Head

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The top men’s and women’s volleyball teams from China stopped by Oakley Headquarters during a Los Angeles visit in which they prepped for the new season by training in LA and playing local teams.

The group toured the Oakley building, including the R&D facilities and met with various Oakley employees.

Oakley’s Tian Jia and Wan Jie are the top women’s volleyball team in China and a favorite going into Beijing. Jia is China’s most successful player on the international Beach Volleyball circuit. A two-time Olympian, Jia has the experience and drive to win gold this summer.

We sat down with Tian Jia, her partner Wan Jie and the men’s team of Xu Lin Yin and Wu Peng Gen.

What are your days like leading up to Beijing?
Play, eat, sleep, play. Then we do it all over again. We train 4-5 hours a day—more for the Olympics.

What’s keep you motivated?
We’ve always wanted to get on the Olympic podium. “This is my third time trying,” said Jia.

How do you feel about the Olympics coming to your home country?
It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. We are really, really happy and will try hard to show the world the strength of China.

How did you choose volleyball over other sports?
We are so tall, we were born for it. In the United States you can choose to be whatever you want. In China, if you are tall, you are told to play volleyball or basketball.

When you aren’t playing, what do you do for fun?
Sleep and eat! We like to watch TV, shop and make Chinese food…we don’t like American food.

What do you consider the most important element of volleyball?
For the girls, it’s defense. Because the guys are both tall, they do it all—block, serve, etc.

What makes you and your partner a successful team?
Unity and working together. Never giving up. We fight together…go through war together. It’s all about perseverance.

What did you think of the building?
It’s crazy architecture! We really liked the R&D tests—no other sunglass company does that.

How does Oakley eyewear help your game?
They fit our faces well and don’t move around. The clarity and visibility of the lenses is outstanding.

Author

Tess Weaver

Date

March 27, 2008