‘Best Libero’ Justine Wong-Orantes ‘kept the ball in the air’ for Team USA to win first volleyball gold medal

volleyball player helped Team USA win gold

Meet Justine Wong-Orantes, the Filipino Chinese American athlete who was an integral part of Team USA’s gold medal win in women’s volleyball at the 2020 Tokyo Games.

Amazing athlete: Wong-Orantes, 25, played a key role in helping Team USA defeat Brazil and secure the country’s first-ever gold medal in women’s volleyball on Sunday, according to NBC Olympics.

  • She was reportedly running all over the place to help her team set up scores against their opponent during their three sets. Team USA beat Brazil 3-0 (25-21 for the first set, 25-20 for the second set and 24-15 for the final set).
  • Volleyball World named Wong-Orantes as Best Libero for its 2020 Tokyo Games dream team.

A dream come true: Winning a gold medal in volleyball has been a dream for Wong-Orantes ever since she started getting into the sport.

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  • Her Filipino Chinese mother, Winnie Wong, and her Mexican father, Robert Orantes, were volleyball players, the Los Angeles Times reported. Her father also coached the Mizuno Long Beach volleyball club.
  • Wong-Orantes partnered with Sara Hughes to become one of the top youth beach volleyball pairs, hoping to one day win a gold medal just like American gold medalists Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh Jennings.

  • Both Wong-Orantes and Hughes competed at the 2011 FIVB Beach Volleyball Swatch Youth World Championships in Croatia, where they finished with a tie in ninth place, according to her Volleyball World profile.

  • Despite being the only libero for Team USA, Wong-Orantes still handled the matches well, Team USA coach Karch Kiraly told the LA Times.

About Justine Wong-Orantes: Born in Torrance, Calif., Wong-Orantes attended the University of Nebraska and played for the university state team in 2017.

  • She won the Pan American gold medal and the bronze medal at the 2017 FIVB Volleyball World Grand Prix.
  • She also won the 2019 NORCECA Women’s Continental Championship silver medal.
  • Wong-Orantes was the youngest player to earn a AAA CBVA rating after winning a AAA beach tournament at the age of 12, her Team USA profile reads.
  • The gold medalist is currently playing for VC Wiesbaden club.
  • She graduated from Nebraska in December 2016 and has a degree in child, youth and family studies.

Featured Image via Titans Volleyball | Womens

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