Toronto, Canada, September 16, 2016 - Heather Bansley was reaching for her water bottle when she felt a tap on her shoulder.
Bansley was referring to Lennox Lewis, a three-time heavyweight champion and the 1988 Olympic super-heavyweight champion.
Lewis watched fellow Canadians Bansley and Brandie Wilkerson fall to Germany’s Laura Ludwig and Kira Walkenhorst, the 2016 Olympic champions, in three sets Friday afternoon at the SWATCH FIVB World Tour Finals.
“The girls can jump so high and move so quickly,” Lewis said. “They are great athletes.”
After the match, Lewis spoke with both teams.
“He was more shy than I would have thought for a boxer,” Ludwig said. “It is cool that he would come out here to support us.”
Lewis asked Bansley about the food in the Olympic Village, and whether athletes still trade pins.
“He also said that he had no idea I could jump so high,” Bansley said.
Beach volleyball made its Olympic debut in 1996, and Lewis competed at the 1984 and 1988 Games. But Lewis has become a fan of the sport by watching it on television.
“I love watching beach volleyball,” he said. “All of the other Olympians love coming to watch beach volleyball as well, and I don’t know why. Maybe because it’s in the sun and they can get a tan?”
Lewis has even tried to play beach volleyball.
“It’s not easy,” he said. “It really works your legs and your butt.”
Beach Majors CEO Hannes Jagerhofer gave Lewis a tour of the tournament venue.
“The venue is unbelievable,” Lewis said. “In fact, I’m actually looking at this venue and wondering if I can put a boxing ring in the middle and host a match.”