Last Updated: 26/07/12 4:54pm
Ciara Michel: born in Taunton, learned to play volleyball in America
Great Britain's pursuit of success at the Games will have an American tint to it in the form of Ciara Michel.
Although born in Taunton, Michel's schooling came in Miami owing to her family moving there when she was 10.
As a result, her accent is more East Coast than Westcountry, but there is no doubting her commitment to the nation of her birth.
"I hope I can hold up against them, all of their girls are my size if not bigger. One of my main roles in the team is blocking and height does help with that."
Ciara Michel Quotes of the week
In fact, she believes her path to the Games means she has experienced what it is like to have both an American and British sporting mentality, and she is ready to take everything she knows to Earls Court for Saturday's opening clash with Russia.
"I had never picked up a volleyball in Britain, but when I moved to the States I started playing," she said.
"I had wanted to be a footballer and then a cheerleader but, when they didn't work out, I switched to volleyball, which I'm glad I did.
"As a result, I've seen what it's like in both countries and I'm glad of my experience."
The 27-year-old's journey has also taken in Melbourne and Aachen, Germany where she plays her club volleyball alongside GB team-mate Lucy Wicks.
As a result they have developed a strong understanding of each other's games - something that is particularly important as they stand alongside each other in the front row - and Michel knows how vital that is for the side.
"I joined Aachen before I knew Lucy and any of the GB girls and I got to know her really well," she said.
"She's a setter and I'm a middle, and that has been really helpful. We are really good friends too and that is as helpful as being good team-mates."
At 6ft 4in, Michel is GB's tallest player and they are going to need every bit of her if they are to get the better of world champions Russia.
The eastern Europeans are one of the biggest and strongest teams on the circuit, but Michel is confident that she can help snuff out their threat.
"I hope I can hold up against them, all of their girls are my size if not bigger. One of my main roles in the team is blocking and height does help with that," she said.
"I wouldn't say we are daunted, I know they are great players but we have done so much scouting and watched so much video, that it's not going to be a shock or overwhelming.
"We've done our homework, we know what to expect and what they do in a tight spot. We need to stick to what we know."
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