USA beach volleyball squad welcome news Prince Harry will attend women's final


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The Independent Online

America's women's beach volleyball squad have welcomed news that Prince Harry will watch the final of their sport on August 8.

The 27-year-old royal is one of the sport's most well-known fans - he famously took part in an impromptu game on Rio de Janeiro's sands while on a Government visit to Brazil - and he is now set to be at Horse Guards Parade for the medal events.

The Prince's planned appearance was greeted with excitement by April Ross this afternoon, with team-mates Jennifer Kessy and Misty May-Treanor equally expectant.

"We've been tweeting Harry," joked Ross, a 30-year-old Californian. "I'd just like a photo opportunity with him."

Kessy added: "We've not had any contact from him, but it would be great to see him at a game."

May-Treanor, 34, is equally thrilled at the prospect of a royal appointment on the sand.

"To see any of the Royal Family would be fun," she said.

"It's neat when you get delegates of other countries interested, travelling around to see the different venues. It's important."

Of greater importance to May-Treanor is ending her decorated career on a high.

A gold medal winner with long-standing partner Kerri Walsh at each of the last two Olympic Games, she is retiring at the end of the London tournament.

Her task has been made harder owing to the fact she and Walsh took a two-year break from playing together following the Beijing Olympics, but May-Treanor is confident they have still got what it takes.

"Kerri and I didn't play for a while and it's been fun to get back together," she said.

"We started our journey together in 2001 and for me it's coming to an end after this, my last event. For us, that journey has been about the hard work and the extra hours.

"We are excited to be here again together. I'm 34 now, and the players I'm playing against are 21 and 22. That's been a real change, but that's how I started out."

Beach volleyball is one of the most talked-about sports on the Olympic scene owing to its daring dress code.

Women often play in bikinis - something that has won the game a new army of fans - and Rose is delighted that the wow factor is working.

"We go to places and it is a little bit shocking for people, but it draws them in and once they see the sport, they're hooked," she said.

"People are going to want to see it and hopefully we gain lifetime fans. We feel so blessed to be playing here."