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ATLANTA 1996 OLYMPICS | Spotlight

They're Saved By The Sand

A look at the day that was and at what lies ahead at the Summer Games

July 24, 1996|ROBYN NORWOOD

Sinjin Smith and Nancy Reno thought their chances to compete in the Olympics were behind them until beach volleyball was introduced as an Olympic sport.

Smith, 39, trained with the U.S. men's indoor team in preparation for the 1980 Moscow Games, but the U.S. boycotted.

"I thought that was the end of my Olympic dream, but here it is 1996 and I'm getting to finish my career participating here," he said.

Reno, 31, was a member of the national team in 1989 and hoped to play in the '92 Games but said she was dropped from the indoor team by Terry Liskevych, then and now the coach of the American team.

"I had some run-ins with Coach Liskevych, a personality clash," said Reno, an outspoken player known for her colorful bandannas and environmental stands. "I was eventually let go from the team. It broke my heart and affected me for a long time.

"In 1989, I was a lost sheep. I was crushed. To finally be able to compete in the Olympics after so long a wait. . . . I had completely given up."

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