Men's Olympic Games, Athens GREECE
From 14 August To 25 August 2004

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Austria Replaces Doppler with Gosch for Athens 2004 Beach Volleyball Competition
Athens, Greece, August 11, 2004 - Due to a left knee injury three weeks ago in France, Clemens Doppler of Austria will forgo the Athens 2004 Games Beach Volleyball competition as his Olympic-qualifying partner of Nikolas Berger will now play with Florian Gosch.

One of the "outstanding" newcomers on the SWATCH-FIVB World Tour, the 23-year old Doppler hurt his left knee in the Marseille stop July 16 against a team from Estonia in the first event after the end of the Olympic qualifying process. Doppler attempted to rehab his knee the last three weeks, but was unable to be ready for the Olympics. He is scheduled for surgery next week.

"I am disappointed for Clemens," said Berger after the injury. "He had played extremely well since the start of the Olympic qualifying process in 2003. I was the one hurting earlier this season and he had been playing his best Beach Volleyball as he gain more experience with each event."

A full-time player on the SWATCH-FIVB World Tour since 2001, Doppler started playing with the 30-year old Berger in 2002 as they entered the Athens qualifying process as eighth-ranked team on the Olympic list. Berger started the 2004 season with knee problems as he and Doppler posted their best finish this season in Switzerland with a seventh.

As for Gosch, Berger played with his new partner for the first-time at the last SWATCH-FIVB World Tour event in Klagenfurt, Austria, where the pair dropped two matches to Olympic-qualified teams from Australia and the United States.

Gosch, who turns 24 Monday, played with Bernhard Strauss during the Olympic qualifying process and posted a 17th earlier this season in Switzerland for their best career finish together in an "open" SWATCH-FIVB World Tour event.

A regular on the SWATCH-FIVB World Tour since 2001, Gosch and Strauss placed fourth last season in the Athens test event before finishing third last month in a challenger event in Croatia.

Berger will be competing in his second Olympic Beach Volleyball competition after placing ninth at the Sydney 2000 Olympics with Oliver Stamm where they dropped a 16-14 match to Zé Marco de Melo and Ricardo of Brazil, who captured the silver medal on Bondi Beach.

The 2003 European champions after defeating Markus Dieckmann and Jonas Reckermann of Germany in the finals, Berger and Doppler finished the Olympic qualifying process as the 10th-ranked team. The Austrians started the Olympic process with a third-place in Greece last season followed by a fourth-place last September in Los Angeles.

The men's and women's Athens 2004 Olympic Beach Volleyball competition begins Saturday with the first of six days of pool play. Sixteen teams from both genders will advance to the elimination rounds where the women's gold medal match will be played August 24 followed by the men's August 25.