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Fourth-Place Medal

Olympic Crush: Brazil’s women’s volleyball team

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Olympic Crush is exactly what it sounds like: A series about men and women we're falling for during the London Games. (Example: The Dutch field hockey team.)

There are very few things that make me question my national pride. The popularity of "Toddlers and Tiaras" is pretty much it. But I had an existential patriotic crisis while watching the U.S. women's volleyball team. Indoor volleyball is the most underrated sport on the Olympic programme (when the Games are in London, you get the Queen's English) and, for my money, watching our team fight for the gold medal is more exciting than anything you'll see on a basketball court during the next two weeks.

[ Related: Dutch field hockey team getting worldwide attention ]

But then I looked across the net and my favorite colors faded from red, white and blue to yellow and green. For it was then that I caught my first glimpse of the women on the Brazilian volleyball team.

Their beach counterparts may get more attention. Nonsense, we say. The indoor team is the Kourtney to their Kim, the Chrissy to their Nikki, Frank to their Sylvester -- overlooked siblings who outshine their more famous family members. As always, our attraction has as much to do with on-field as it does most other things. Brazil's team is the defending champion at the Olympics and was favored to win the gold.

[ Photo gallery: Hottest Olympic athletes ]

No disrespect to our American women, who are quintuple threats in Fourth-Place Medal's guide to threats of the opposite sex (athletic, attractive, affable, assertive and fond of frequent hugging/patting) and put a hurting on the Brazilians Tuesday to take over as gold-medal favorites. But these are the Olympics, a time to celebrate diversity, international fellowship and tight, tight shorts.

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