Volleyball Champion Chiaka Ogbogu Has ‘High Hopes’ of Repeating Gold at 2024 Paris Olympics (Exclusive)

"I genuinely wouldn't be surprised if we repeat, but I'm still going into it with a fresh slate," the reigning Olympics volleyball champion says of Team USA

<p>CULT and Milani Cosmetics</p> Chiaka Ogbogu for Milani Cosmetics

CULT and Milani Cosmetics

Chiaka Ogbogu for Milani Cosmetics

At the beginning of June, the roster for the U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team was announced, with Chiaka Ogbogu as one of the returning athletes ready to serve at the 2024 Paris Summer Olympics.

Ogbogu, the 29-year-old who took home the gold medal with Team USA during her Olympic debut at the 2020 Tokyo Summer Games, tells PEOPLE about her unique mindset heading into this year's competition as the reigning champions. "I'm really just going into this with low expectations and high hopes," she says nearly two months out from the Opening Ceremony on July 26.

She adds, "I'm hopeful that we can repeat, but I'm not expecting it by any means."

That laidback headspace isn't concerning for Ogbogu, who says "pressure" ahead of the international competition is "obviously inevitable," but "looks different for each athlete." For the defending medalist? "I feel good," she says.

Yet, Ogbogu does think this year's Olympics "will be even more competitive than the last one... surprisingly." She explains, "I think each quad, which is what we're in, the teams get better and better. People spend more time with each other. They're able to figure things out."

Related: Simone Biles Wins Record 9th U.S. Championship on Cusp of 2024 Paris Olympics: 'Aging Like Fine Wine'

<p>CULT and Milani Cosmetics</p> Chiaka Ogbogu for Milani Cosmetics

CULT and Milani Cosmetics

Chiaka Ogbogu for Milani Cosmetics

Fortunately for the athlete, she's confident where her team stands in pursuit of another USA victory. "We're going to give it our best shot. I'm really hopeful," she tells PEOPLE. "I like the vibe of this group... We have all the pieces to do it. So I genuinely would not be surprised if we repeat, but I'm still just going into it with a fresh slate."

Not only that, but Ogbogu is heading into this year's Olympics with a fresh face of makeup, a routine she swears by before hitting the court. "There's something about a fresh beat that makes you feel really confident going into the games," she says.

"I think that's surprising for a lot of people that athletes like to glam," admits Ogbogu, who is partnering with Milani Cosmetics for the brand's new campaign, "Face Set. Mind Set."

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"I think it just goes back to the philosophy of, 'Look good, play good,' " she continues, adding, "I'm excited that Milani recognizes that in athletes and is supporting us through the Olympic Games."

Ogbogu breaks down her game day makeup routine, clarifying that "it's different" from an "out to dinner" look. She uses "full foundation and concealer" — two of her go-to products "especially for long tournaments," quipping, "You're not getting a lot of sleep, you got to cover those eye bags!"

Then, she turns to eyeliner to create a "super sharp wing" and tops it all off with mascara. "Sometimes I play around with blush as eyeshadow," she says. "I'm a big blush girl, so I'll just bring it up into the eye."

Related: Caitlin Clark Says Her Goal Is to Join Team USA at Paris Olympics: ‘It’s Where I Want to Be’

<p>CULT and Milani Cosmetics</p> Chiaka Ogbogu for Milani Cosmetics

CULT and Milani Cosmetics

Chiaka Ogbogu for Milani Cosmetics

Ogbogu also makes it clear she and the team avoid any kind of lip makeup "because we're constantly wiping our face or drinking water and stuff gets messy." While she said her eye makeup depends on the match she's playing, she also considers the "temperature of the gym" and "time of day" too.

That's where the Milani's Make It Last Setting Spray and Make It Last Mattifying Setting Powder come to the rescue. "My makeup will move if I don't have setting spray," she says. "That has been the biggest key for me... and the really good setting powder."

Glam aside, the volleyball champ says feeling her most confident on game day "doesn't always have to be when I'm wearing makeup." In fact, she says the "getting ready" process and "having me-time" before a match is important to her.

"I take that seriously. Getting centered," Ogbogu says. "Doing makeup is therapeutic. It's a time to check in with myself. It's a time to just be on my own, listen to music or just have it be complete silence." She adds, "When I get that time to myself, that's when I feel confident going into the matches."

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To learn more about all the Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls, visit TeamUSA.com and come to people.com to check out ongoing coverage before, during and after the games. Watch the Paris Olympics and Paralympics, beginning July 26, on NBC and Peacock.

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