ATHENS, Greece (AP) - A team of bikini-clad dancers from the Canary Islands is entertaining fans, but offending some female players at Olympic beach
Wearing bright orange outfits during the day and shiny silver ones at night, the sun-bronzed babes race onto the sand between points and matches,
gyrating to blaring techno-pop. Fans join in, wiggling hips and clicking cameras. At least one women's team isn't amused.
"It's kind of disrespectful to the female players," said Nicole Sanderson, an Australian. "I'm sure the male spectators love it, but I find it a
little bit offensive."
Kerri Pottharst, Sanderson's partner, said
mixing in some male dancers would've made it OK. "Equality, equality!" said Pottharst, a 2000 gold medallist. The team, called Personal Plus, has
travelled to many international volleyball events this summer. The FIVB, the sport's governing body, hired the team to perform during the Olympics.
It's the first time a dance team has entertained at the event. NBA-style dance teams have been regulars at the basketball competition for the past few
Olympics. Bob Clarke, a FIVB spokesman, said the Spanish team was not brought in to detract from the competition. "The dancers aren't dancing when
there's playing going on," he said. "When the matches are going on, the focus is on the athletes. The dancers are only here to enhance the environment
for the spectator."
Dancer Vanessa Diaz said the team is not here to steal the spotlight.
"The athletes are the stars," she said. "We are here to support them. We are friends with many of them."
The fans seem satisfied.
Norman Brown brought his three sons to the Olympics from England. They came to the beach Tuesday after watching Britain play field hockey. When they
spotted the dancers, they quickly grabbed four front-row seats.
"We'll come again," Brown said as he videotaped them.
Yvonne Anderson, of Edinburgh, Scotland, said the team adds to the beach-party atmosphere, but she also would've liked to see some male dancers.
"It's all just a bit of fun," she said.