Oceanside Native All About Teamwork Ahead Of Tokyo Olympics

Garrett Muagututia, an outside hitter for Team USA's indoor volleyball team, prides himself on being adaptable and versatile

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The Olympic roster for Team USA's indoor volleyball team has yet to be announced, but when it is, Garrett Muagututia is confident he'll be among the players heading to Tokyo this summer.

Muagututia is confident in himself and his role on this team as a veteran who will do anything it takes to make the team better.

"Whether it be me coming off the bench cold to serve at an important time in a match, to start if somebody is hurt, to come in as a passing sub or blocking sub, anything," Muagututia said.

Teamwork is what head coach John Speraw likes most about his squad and Muagututia is a shining example of the veteran leadership that will make the team one of the podium favorites in Tokyo.

"If you want your young player of any sport to watch a great team dynamic and how they support one another and make each other better, this is a great team to watch," Speraw said.

At 33 years old, Muagututia, an outside hitter, is one of the older veterans on the team, but he has yet to play at the Olympics.

The Oceanside native, who attended Francis Parker High School, has always had a good example of what it means to be part of a team.

Muagututia's dad was a U.S. Navy Seal when he and his three siblings were young.

"I was still too young to comprehend actually what he was really doing, didn't understand it. For all I knew, he told me he was going on vacation, I was like 'This is a sweet job, gets to go on vacation all the time,'" Muagututia said.

His dad, who played volleyball for the U.S. Navy team, is also an Olympian having competed in the two-man bobsled event for American Samoa at the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway.

Listen/Subscribe to NBC 7’s Olympic Dreams: San Diego to Tokyo podcast wherever you enjoy listening to podcasts. On each episode, NBC 7 News Today anchor Steven Luke will sit down with athletes in their prime, each with their sights set on one thing: representing Team USA in Tokyo this summer. How will they achieve their Olympic dreams?

His mother was a collegiate volleyball player at U.C. Riverside, which meant he grew up surrounded by the sport.

"Basically a gym rat growing up," Muagututia said.

At practice, he is one of the spark plugs on a team which has gold medal ambition again after finishing with a bronze five years ago at the 2016 Olympics in Rio De Janeiro.

"We all play together. We're all getting better at playing with anybody on the court at any time and we play for each other," said Muagututia.

With three gold medals at the Olympics, the United States has more than any other country in the world, with the last one coming at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.

The team is currently ranked 3rd in the world heading into the 2021 FIVB Volleyball Nations League (VNL) in Rimini, Italy which will take place on May 28-June 27.

Olympic athletes share what keeps them going in their sport, even under intense pressure and tough workouts.
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