The FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships
are now held every two years and they are now
one of the undoubted highlights of the sporting
year, as well as a much-desired title for the players
on the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour. Prior to
the first tournament in its current format in 1997
there were 10 world championships held in Rio de
Janeiro every year between 1987 and 1996 and
now they are held every two years, outside of the
Olympic Games.
The first edition of the FIVB Beach Volleyball World
Championships in its current format took place on the
campus of UCLA in Los Angeles, USA. Male and female
players shared a purse of $600,000 and the event was
broadcast to over 120 countries. Brazilians dominated the
event with Para Ferreira and Guilherme Marques winning
the gold medal over the USA’s Mike Whitmarsh and
Canyon Ceman, while another Brazilian side, Paulo Emilio
and Paulao, won bronze. In the women’s competition
Brazilians Jackie Silva and Sandra Pires claimed gold over
US pair Holly McPeak and Lisa Arce. Adriana Behar and
Shelda Bede added a fourth medal for Brazil by winning
the bronze.
The World Championships moved to Europe with Marseille
on France’s Mediterranean coast playing host. Over 50,000
fans took in the action and $600,000 was again the total
prize money. Brazil continued to dominate the men’s
competition as Emanuel Rego won the first of his world
titles, alongside Jose Loiola by defeating Swiss brothers
Paul and Martin Laciga. Meanwhile defending champions
Para Ferreira and Guilherme Marques won the bronze
medals. Shelda Bede and Adriana Behar improved on their
silvers by claiming gold against the USA’s Annett
Davis and Johnson Jordan. Another US pair Liz Masakayan
and Elaine Youngs completed the podium.
Klagenfurt in Austria was the first venue for the World
Championships after the millennium and the sign of the
growing interest in the tournament was reflected as over
spectators watched the action over the five days
of competition. Argentine duo Martin Conde and Mariano
Baracetti broke Brazil’s dominance of the men’s gold
medals with victory over Ricardo Santos and Jose Loiola,
while Norway became another country to win a major
beach volleyball medal when Jorre Andre Kjemperud and
Vegard Hoidalen claimed the bronze. Adriana Behar and
Shelda Bede defended their gold medals with victory over
fellow Brazilians Sandra Pires and Tatiana Minello. In the
bronze medal match Czech duo Eva Celbova and Sona
Dosoudilova beat the USA’s Elaine Youngs and Barbra
Beach volleyball finally returned to its spiritual home when
the sun-drenched sands of Rio de Janeiro’s Copacabana
Beach welcomed the cream of beach volleyball. Kerri
Walsh and Misty May finally ended Brazil’s monopoly of
the women’s medals by beating defending champions
Adriana Behar and Shelda Bede in the final and Sydney
Olympic champion Natalie Cook added world
bronze alongside Nicole Sanderson. Local fans were not
disappointed with the men’s result though as Emanuel
Two great legends Jackie Silva and Sandra Pires of Brazil claimed
the women’s title in 1997