French Grand Slam
Marseille, France July 15-19 2003
MARSEILLE HOSTS TENTH WORLD TOUR EVENT
Marseille will welcome the world's finest beach volleyballers for the 10th consecutive year this summer when it hosts the $300,000 French Grand Slam, the second in the Four-leg Grand Slam this season.
Situated on the French Mediterranean, Marseille hosted a grand slam tournament for the first time last year and this season organisers will look to further establish the event as one of the most popular and successful on the Beach Volleyball World Tour.
One of the largest ports in Europe, Marseille is also regarded as France's 'second' city. It is a melting pot of commerce, culture and tourism, and serves as the gateway to Provence and many other provinces southern France.
Marseille is also the oldest city in France, having been founded by the Greeks in 600 BC, and today boasts one of the most diverse and cosmopolitan populations in Europe. Many visit the area for it's natural beauty and spectacular climate, although the Mistral - a strong wind that funnels down the Rhone Valley - can often roar for days on end.
Indeed, organisers lost a day of action in last year's event to the infamous Mistral, as American duo McPeak and Youngs powered their way to their second gold medal of the season.
McPeak-Youngs defeated compatriots Walsh-May 21-17, 21-12 in the final, gaining revenge for their semi-final loss to the same pair a week earlier in Montreal.
The American pair also had to fight from a set down in a gruelling semi-final against arch rivals Adriana Behar-Shelda of Brazil, winners of this event in 1997 and 1999. The Americans eventually won 2-1 after saving six match points in the second set.
It was Youngs's second successive victory in Marseille, the American having secured gold a year earlier with former partner Barbara Fontana, while McPeak was partnering Lisa Arce to the bronze.
Australia's Olympic champions Pottharst-Cook took bronze in 2002 after defeating Adriana Behar-Shelda 21-13, 22-20. It was a disappointing finish for the Brazilians, who saw their chances of securing a place on the podium affected by a thigh injury to Shelda.
After a week's break, the Women's Beach Volleyball World Tour moves to Klagenfurt for the $300,000 Austrian Grand Slam, the third of four grand slams this season.
1. McPeak-Youngs (USA)
2. Walsh-May (USA)
3. Pottharst-Cook (AUS)
Pottharst Biography /Profile
Cook Biography / Profile