Women's competition, Marseille
From 13 July To 18 July 2004

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If It's Tuesday, It's another Women's Beach Volleyball Qualification
MARSEILLE, FRANCE, July 12, 2004 - For the fifth-straight Tuesday, it's the start of another women's event on the SWATCH-FIVB World Tour as the world's top Beach Volleyball teams compete in their next-to-last event prior to the 2004 Athens Olympic Games.

Following Tuesday's Qualification Tournament to determine the last eight spots in the 32-team Main Draw, the "money" rounds begin for women Wednesday in the US$560,000 World Series 13 event, the second of three Grand Slam stops on the SWATCH-FIVB World Tour this season.

With Brazil's top two teams (Shelda Bede/Adriana Behar and Ana Paula Connelly/Sandra Pires) along with tandems from Australia (Natalie Cook/Nicole Sanderson and Summer Lochowicz/Kerri Pottharst) and the United States (Holly McPeak/Elaine Youngs) missing the event at the Plage of Prado, the women's competition will feature last week's "podium" placement pairs in Mallorca and the 2004 European champions from Switzerland..

Juliana Felisberta Silva and Larissa France continued the tradition of gold medal teams from Brazil as the young South Americans defeated the three-straight more-experienced tandems from Italy, the Czech Republic and Germany to capture the Mallorca Open title.

Felisberta Silva and Larissa's only lost in the competition was to Lochowicz and Pottharstia, who placed fourth in Mallorca after losing to Suzanne Lahme and Danja Musch of Germany in the semi-finals and to Eva Celbova and Sona Navokova of the Czech Republic in the bronze medal match.

In addition to defeating both the 2004 Olympic-qualified teams of Celbova/Navokova and Lahme/Musch by the same score (21-17 and 21-12) in Saturday's semi-final and gold medal matches, respectively, Felisberta Silva and Larissa also scored a 28-30, 22-20 and 15-13 win in 66 minutes over Italian Olympians Lucilla Perrotta and Daniela Gattelli Friday to advance to their second "final four" this season.

Nicole Benoit-Schnyder and Simone Kuhn are the 2004 European Champions in the field as the pair won the title June 12 in Germany by defeating Susanne Glesnes and Kathrine Maaseide of Norway 21-13 and 21-16 in the finals.

Kerri Walsh, who was part of last year's women's gold medal team in Marseille's seventh annual World Series 13 on the Plage of Prado, also returns with new partner Rachel Wacholder. Misty May is Walsh's regular partner, but the Sydney 2000 Olympian has been hampered the past two months with an abdominal strain.

Walsh and Rachel Wacholder won a bronze medal together in Norway two week's ago by defeating Guylaine Dumont and Annie Martin of Canada in the third-place match. The United States filled the podium in Stavanger as Holly McPeak and Elaine Youngs defeated Annett Davis and Jenny Johnson Jordan in the All-American final.

McPeak and Youngs won the 20002 World Series 13 gold medal by defeating Walsh and May in the title match. Youngs captured the 2001 World Series 13 title with Barbra Fontana. Davis and Johnson won the 2000 title match after losing the 1999 final to Adriana and Shelda when Marseille hosted the FIVB World Championships.

PAST MARSEILLE WOMEN'S PODIUM PLACEMENTS

Year - Gold Medal / Silver Medal / Bronze Medal
1997 - Shelda Bede/Adriana Behar, Brazil / Holly McPeak/Lisa Arce, United States / Adriana Samuel//Monica Rodrigues, Brazil
1998 - Sandra Pires/Samuel, Brazil / Shelda/Adriana, Brazil / Jackie Silva/Monica, Brazil
1999 - Shelda/Adriana, Brazil / Annett Davis/Jenny Johnson Jordan, United States / Liz Masakayan/Elaine Youngs, United States
2000 - Davis/Johnson Jordan, United States / Shelda/Adriana, Brazil / Ana Paula Connelly /Monicam Brazil
2001 - Youngs/Barbra Fontana, United States / Shelda/Adriana, Brazil / McPeak/Arce, United States
2002 - Youngs/McPeak, United States / Misty May/Kerri Walsh, United States / Kerri Pottharst/Natalie Cook, Australia
2003 - May/Walsh, United States / Pires/Ana Paula, Brazil / Shelda/Adriana, Brazil