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Australia's Cook looks to win beach volleyball gold again
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The 2000 Sydney Olympics was the best Olympics for her, Australia's Natalie Cook said.

This is not only because the 2000 Olympics beach volleyball matches were held in the specially constructed venue at the popular and beautiful Bondi Beach near Sydney, it's much more because that she captured the gold medal before thousands of home fans.

Eight years on, the four-time Olympian appeared confident that she could win again.

"I have a new partner this time. We are in good shape. We're here to win," said the 33-year-old player, who was having pre-Olympics training with her partner Tasmin Barnett on a beach volleyball ground in the Chaoyang Park on Sunday.

She is going to win back the title she lost four years ago in Athens, she told Xinhua.

In Athens, Cook, who paired with Nicole Sanderson, lost the bronze medal match to Americans Holly McPeak and Elaine Youngs, and the gold medals were take away by US tandem Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh.

Cook is the only men's or women's player to advance to the Olympic medal matches in each of the previous three Olympic Games in Atlanta, Sydney and Athens.

In Atlanta, where beach volleyball made its Olympic debut, Cook captured the bronze medal.

This time in Beijing, she is facing new strong rivals from the United States, Brazil and China but she is confident of gaining the initiative, said Cook.

She said that they don't fear the rivals, even though most of them are younger than her. They will use efficient serves and keep attacking the rivals. "We'll be strong and powerful," she said.

And the experience may be another outstanding advantage for Cook, the only woman to compete in all four Olympic beach volleyball competitions.

Cook's new partner Barnett, who played for Australia's volleyball team in the Sydney Olympics, is competing in her first beach volleyball Olympics.

The indoor and beach volleyball are different, said Barnet. But she is aiming to achieve a good result in beach volleyball in Beijing with her experienced partner.

Cook wrote a book, Go Girls, in 2001, after she captured the beach volleyball gold medal on home land. The book, described by the media as "a tale of courage and audacity", was sold 30,000 copies, a success.

In that book, Cook appealed to her readers "Achieve your dreams" and "Unleash your power.".

Now she is planning to write a new one and the author is maybe eyeing to encourage her readers with a new success story, a success story in Beijing.

She declined to disclose the contents and title of the book. "It's a secret now," she said.

But after the Beijing Games, everything about the book will be made public, she assured.

(Xinhua News Agency August 4, 2008)

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