Summer Olympics 2012

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Volleyball Olympian Destinee Hooker is Proud of Her Name

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Destinee Hooker
U.S. Olympic women's volleyball team player Destinee Hooker, 24, has a unique story to share about her name. She tells TMZ that she was teased about it as a kid, but now she loves it.

"When it comes to my name, I honestly find nothing wrong with it. I love my name," she says. "I have been dealing with it since I was a child. People can be childish."

Hooker, a Texas native, says her father, former San Antonio Spur player Ricky Hooker, uniquely named her after she nearly died at birth. "Since I was a blessing, [my father] spelled it uniquely. So I am thankful to be here and glad my dad gave me the name."

Hooker has a strong bond with her father. The day before the opening ceremony, Ricky sent his daughter an encouraging note. "The blessing is I see you as a little girl that has grown up into a beautiful young warrior," it reads. "This is the time to put on your lunch pail and play the matches with your heart and soul."

And play with her heart and soul she has. Hooker has led her team to victory twice in the past week. Team USA first beat out South Korea 3-1. On Monday, the team defeated Brazil 3-1, bringing them one step closer to gold. As it stands, the U.S. women's volleyball team has never won gold and their chances are looking better than ever. Their next match is against Austria later today.

Go team USA!

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