Washington, August 10 : Four-time Olympian Natalie Cook has rubbished suggestions that micro-bikinis worn by female beach volleyball players are spectators' eye candy, insisting that they are worn for convenience.
The 2000 Olympic gold medallist says that bikinis help players beat the heat. "We come up against it quite a lot. That is why we wear a bikini because it is hot out there most of the time,'' Fox News quoted Cook, the first female beach volleyballer to go to four Olympic Games, as saying.
Cook, who has been paired with Victorian Tamsin Barnett, also expressed hope that she would win her second Olympic medal.
The two stars formed a partnership at the national championships in 2005-06, and took the prize at their first attempt.
"I really enjoy indoor volleyball still and I love watching it but beach volleyball feels like me. Being outside, it is a lot more relaxed, you interact with other teams a lot more,'' Barnett said.
Cook agreed that their pairing was relatively new, but insisted that her team still had the potential to win gold in Beijing.
"Eighteen months isn't very long for a beach volleyball team, there is a lot of chemistry and understanding of each other, what buttons to press and what not to press,'' Cook said.
"To understand each other is what it is all about.
"But with Tamsin's height at the net, she is 193cm, and her power, and my experience and ability to frustrate teams and put the ball where they are not, hopefully it will be a good combination," she added.