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Atlanta-bound beach game stops here


And the gold medal in beach volleyball goes to. . . .

Men's and women's beach volleyball will be debuting as a medal sport in the 1996 Olympics, and several of the spikers and setters in town this weekend are likely to be competing in Atlanta.

The Miller Lite/Association of Volleyball Professionals Tour stops at 500 Harborview Drive today and tomorrow for the $100,000 Nestea Open. The field of 32 two-man teams is headed by two-time indoor gold medal winner Karch Kiraly and beach legend Mike Dodd, who has been on the tour for 16 years.

For Dodd, 37, the Summer Games would be the perfect ending to his volleyball career. He was a member of the U.S. national team in the early 1980s, but turned pro before the Olympics.

"It would be unbelievable to go to Atlanta. The Olympics were a dream I had given up on 15 years ago," Dodd said.

Kiraly, who is widely recognized as the top beach volleyball player in the world, considers the Olympic experience as the pinnacle of the sport.

"It would be a nice honor to be able to win a medal in both indoor and beach volleyball," Kiraly said.


What: $100,000 Nestea Open, the 15th stop on the Miller Lite/Association of Volleyball Professionals Tour, with 32 two-man beach volleyball teams.

Where: 500 Harborview Drive

When: Today, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; tomorrow, play begins at 8 a.m.; finals at 3 p.m.

Tickets: Two-day tickets range from $10 to $65. General admission seats are $5 per day. Reserved seats start at $10 today and $15 tomorrow.

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