By Chelsey Taylor-Vaughn
This summer, while students vacationed to the ordinary places such as Hawaii, New York, and Europe, Christina Higgins ’11 took a 17-hour flight to Singapore to participate in the inaugural Youth Olympic Games for volleyball.
Higigns has been trying out for the national team since ninth grade, but she always ended up as an alternate or on the second roster.
“It’s a dream come true for me to represent my country internationally,” Higgins told the Los Angeles Daily News. “My dreams have always been to play in the Olympics and this is just a precursor to that. Hopefully it will open more paths for me in the future.”
The National Youth Olympic volleyball team was chosen from players across the country and Higgins was one of 12 players chosen to represent the United States.
“I was very excited when I found out because youth all around the country try out, and to be chosen out of so many girls felt amazing because this was a once in a life time opportunity,” Higgins said.
They only had a month to form the team because the original team was the wrong age group. Due to this, the team had a short amount of time to create chemistry between the players, which is a necessity for a successful volleyball team.
Nevertheless, Higgins said she made friends with her Olympic teammates quickly.
Higgins was in Singapore from Aug. 11- 27.
“I love it [in Singapore],” she said. “It is extremely clean and modern; it reminds me a lot of home. The Singaporeans were so happy to host the first youth Olympic games, so they were all very nice.”
At the Olympics, the team made it to the gold medal round but lost to Belgium 3-1 in close games.
“I was upset about the loss and yes a gold medal would have been nice but I am so proud of my team for coming together and winning a silver medal,” Higgins said.
Higgins said Belgium had an advantage over the United States because the Belgian played together for a very long time so “they had a lot of chemistry on and off the court.”
She said the United States had its very first practice in Singapore. The United States defeated Japan in the semifinals.
“I don’t think we were as focused in the finals as we were when we played them earlier in the tournament,” Higgins said.
Higgins, who committed to UC Berkeley early in her junior year, has been getting a lot of press due to being on the Olympic team.
“This is definitely the highest point in my career,” she told the Daily News.