"If Ann wants to debate the merits of freedom then I will be happy to have that debate," said U.S. Olympic Beach Volleyball Gold Medalist Kent Steffes
Los Angeles, Calif (PRWEB) December 15, 2011
U.S. Olympic gold medalist Kent Steffes has fired a volley back at columnist Ann Coulter for her comments about beach volleyball in a recent article lambasting Republican presidential contender Newt Gingrich.
On her blog post Wednesday, Coulter blasted the former Speaker of the House for his remarks during the 1996 Republican National Convention. “Gingrich was forced into a minor speaking role at the convention, which he used to promote ... beach volleyball.
“That's right, Republicans were trying to defeat Clinton and Newt was talking about beach volleyball, which is apparently the essence of freedom -- as well as evidence of Newt's cuddly side!”
Coulter was making reference to Gingrich’s introduction of Steffes when he said, "A mere 40 years ago, beach volleyball was just beginning. No bureaucrat would have invented it, and that's what freedom is all about."
A beach volleyball Hall-of-Famer, Steffes was the most successful player in the '90s and received an MBA from Stanford University. Featured in People Magazine during his heyday, he referenced Newt Gingrich, which started their relationship. Today, Steffes is a successful entrepreneur and business consultant who feels Coulter’s remarks were ill informed and reflected poorly on the popularity of the sport that has been exported around the world.
“Beach volleyball is freedom,” Steffes added. “Beach volleyball is very much an American tradition with a storied history. I am proud to have been a part of it and to have represented my country. If Ann wants to debate the merits of freedom then I will be happy to have that debate. I have faced tougher opponents in my lifetime and would be happy to educate her and the rest of the country on a true American innovation.
“I have always found Newt to be bold and forward thinking,” Steffes said. “Any politician who in 1996 could foresee how huge international beach volleyball would become and the contribution American athletes would make to the sport, demands our respect and consideration,” Steffes said.
Steffes won the sport's first Olympic gold medal in 1996, with partner Karch Kiraly. Beach volleyball was voted the best new sport at the Atlanta Games. It has grown exponentially over the years and is one of the most popular competitions at the Summer Games.
It is a sport that the Americans dominate with the U.S. having won three of four possible volleyball gold medals at the 2008 Beijing Games. At the upcoming London Games, the beach volleyball team of Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh will be going for a third straight gold medal. If they succeed it will make them two of the most decorated U.S. Olympians of all time.
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