U.S. men’s volleyball team plays despite tragedy


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BEIJING--The U.S. men’s indoor volleyball team was on the court as scheduled Sunday for an opening-round match against Venezuela in the Olympic tournament.

The organizing committee’s official information system reported that the game had been delayed, with no explanation, but the U.S. Olympic Committee released a statement saying that the team had not been notified of a change in the 12:30 p.m. (9:30 p.m. Saturday PDT) start time.


The U.S. team was without Coach Hugh McCutcheon of Irvine. He was at a local hospital with his mother-in-law, Barbara Bachman, who was seriously injured in a knife attack by a lone assailant Saturday while visiting a Beijing tourist attraction. Her husband, Todd Bachman, was killed in the attack.

McCutcheon’s wife, Elisabeth, is a former UCLA and U.S. Olympic volleyball player. She was with her parents at the tourist site but wasn’t attacked. The assailant subsequently committed suicide, according to police reports. They called it an ‘isolated incident.’’

Mrs. Bachman was in serious but stable condition Sunday after undergoing eight hours of surgery the day before, the USOC said in a statement. According to the statement, she suffered multiple lacerations and stab wounds.

‘As a team, there is nothing more important to us than supporting Mrs. Bachman in her struggle and supporting Hugh and Elisabeth in their grief,’’ Rob Browning, U.S. men’s volleyball team leader, said in a statement. ‘We are absolutely devastated by what has occurred, for their loss and for everything they are going through.

‘Hugh has been in touch with the team throughout this tragedy and we’re extremely proud of the strength he and Elisabeth are displaying. They know we’re here for them in every way possible.’’

-- Randy Harvey

photo credit: USOC