Men's competition, Rio de Janeiro
From 21 September To 26 September 2004

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Heyer & Egger Net "First-Ever" All-European Beach Volleyball Podium
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, September 26, 2004 - For the first-time in SWATCH-FIVB World Tour history for either men and women, three teams from Europe will occupy the three podium spots at an international Beach Volleyball event as Switzerland's Sascha Heyer and Markus Egger upset Brazilian Olympic champions Emanuel Rego and Ricardo Santos for the bronze medal in the men's $360,000 Banco do Brasil Open.

The 17-21, 23-21 and 17-15 win here Sunday in 65 minutes by the sixth-seeded Swiss pair over the top-seeded Emanuel and Ricardo preceded the gold medal match between third-seeded Patrick Heuscher and Stefan Kobel of Switzerland and fifth-seeded Markus Dieckmann and Jonas Reckermann of Germany.

"What a great day for our continent," said Heyer as he was interviewed by the Brazilian press. "We played hard throughout the match and did not fold our tent after losing the first set to Emanuel and Ricardo. Any time you beat a Brazilian team on their home sand, it is an accomplishment."

For Egger, it was his team's "ability to keep the pressure on the Brazilians. We have always found that the reason that team's lose to Emanuel and Ricardo is their inability to keep constant pressure on them at the end of each set. We hurt ourselves with our service game, but still made enough plays at the end to win the match."

The victory was only the third in 10 matches for the Swiss over Emanuel and Ricardo, including a forfeit win earlier this season when Ricardo was sidelined with a right ankle injury in Mallorca. The third-place finish netted Heyer and Egger $14,000.

Emanuel and Ricardo, who finished off the podium for only the third-time this season and the sixth-time in 25 SWATCH-FIVB World Tour starts together since the end of the 2002 season, shared $11,000 for placing fourth.

Despite the three losses this weekend, Emanuel and Ricardo finished as the SWATCH-FIVB World Tour's points champion for the second-straight season. The pair has won 12 international gold medals enroute to a two-plus season SWATCH mark of 134-26 with $521,380 in winnings.

For Heyer and Egger, the bronze medal finish caps a 49-event FIVB partnership as they will split for the start of the 2005 SWATCH-FIVB World Tour season to play with the Lacigas. Heyer will team with Paul Laciga and Egger is scheduled to with Martin Laciga.

Heyer and Egger's win also denied the Brazilians with their first ever non-podium finish for either men or women in a SWATCH-FIVB World Tour in Brazil. The Banco do Brasil Open is the 26th men's international event while the women's completed their 21st here Saturday where Ana Paula Connelly and Sandra Pires captured the gold medal match.