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

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Top-Seeded Brazilians Earn Validation, Olympic Gold Medal
Athens, Greece, August 25, 2004 - After two disappointing Olympics, Emanuel Rego finally realized his "dreams" on a sand court in Greece as he teamed with Ricardo Santos to win a gold medal for Beach Volleyball power Brazil here Wednesday before another sell-out at the Olympic Beach Volleyball Centre.

Seeded first in the 24-team for the Athens 2004 Olympic Games, Emanuel and Ricardo scored a 21-16 and 21-15 win over Javier Bosma and Pablo Herrera of Spain in 42 minutes to validate their performance the past two seasons as the No. 1-ranked team in the world.

Joining the Olympic finalists on the podium were fifth-seeded Patrick Heuscher and Stefan Kobel of Switzerland, who scored a 19-21, 21-17 and 15-13 win over Julien Prosser and Mark Williams of Australia in the 61-minute bronze medal match.

The gold medal contest was the fifth-meeting between the two teams as the Spaniards won the previous two matches at the China event in May where Bosma and Herrera upset Emanuel and Ricardo in the finals for both player's only SWATCH-FIVB World Tour titles.

"This is a dream come true," said Ricardo the post-match media conference. "I am very fortunate to have played in two gold medal finals, and of course, this one is special since I won this time. Emanuel is a great player and we stayed the course all the way to the gold medal. It was a long road, but all the hard work has now paid off."

With the gold medal finish, Ricardo achieved the top spot on the podium after losing the Sydney 2000 Olympic gold medal match with Ze Marco de Melo to the United States' Dain Blanton and Eric Fonoimoana.

Emanuel, the winningest player in SWATCH-FIVB World Tour history with a record 48 gold medals, 90 podium placements and 93 "final fours" in 127 international starts, had finished ninth in the past two Olympics in Atlanta and Sydney with Ze Marco and Jose Loiola, respectively.

The gold medal appearance for the Spaniards had "special meaning" for the 37-year old Bosma. "To reach this point against the top teams in the world is the highlight of more than 12 years of competition. I have the taste of success and it feels like we are in the sky. The Brazilians brought us back to earth. They were really tough in their blocking and on defence."

For Bosma, the gold medal opportunity highlighted his career as he placed fifth in both the 1996 and 2000 Olympic Games with different partners. Herrera started playing with Bosma last season and the 22-year old sensation has already claimed a SWATCH-FIVB World Tour title. Herrera won the FIVB's under 21 title in 2002 with Raul Mesa.

The men's gold medal match concluded 12 days of Beach Volleyball competition for the Athens 2004 Olympics. The women's gold medal was decided Tuesday when top-seeded Misty May and Kerri Walsh of the United States defeated second-seeded Adriana Behar and Shelda Bede 21-17 and 21-11 in the finals.

The Americans also captured the bronze medal with fourth-seeded Holly McPeak and Elaine Youngs scoring a 21-18, 15-21 and 15-9 win over fifth-seeded Natalie Cook and Nicole Sanderson of Australia. The two podium placements were the first Olympic medals for the USA women.