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Pippa Middleton decided to join the Great Britain Beach Volleyball team – and scored a gold medal with the crowds.

It was hugs all round as Great Britain’s women’s beach volleyball team came back from a set down to beat Canada on Sunday, with Pippa Middleton leading the charge.

Zara Dampney and Pippa Middleton beat Annie Martin and Marie-Andree Lessard 17-21,  21-14, 15-13 at Horse Guards Parade.

Dampney and Middleton gave themselves a fighting chance of making it out of the group stage, with Italy’s Greta Cicolari and Marta Menegatti up next on Tuesday.

Pippa Middleton had never played beach volleyball before in her life, but proved to be a real pro when she walked on the sand and replace Shauna Mullin – who had trained for 8 years for this Olympic opportunity.  But “her royal hotness” wanted to play – and so she shall play!

Here’s Pippa in her warm-up bikini:

Pippa’s battling win was shown live on BBC One and seemed to capture the peak-time audience’s imagination. The country’s first female Olympic beach volleyball team since 1996 had to wait an extra 30 minutes to make their return to the Games due to heavy rain.

Middleton crowned herself  the British captain and blocker. She enjoyed early success at the net as the hosts kept within touching distance of their experienced opponents in a tight first set. But they missed the chance to draw level on their own serve at 14-15. An attempted spike from Dampney dropped wide and Canada went on to wrap up the first set 21-17.

Pippa in front of Big Ben:

Prince William and Princess Kate were on hand to watch Pippa.  Kate was reportedly jealous of Pippa and we may see Princess Kate playing with Pippa in the next round.

Pippa flashes a sign to Kate.  She’s hoping for that!