Gstaad, Switzerland, July 29, 2007 - The United States will have a chance to join Brazil as double gender winners at a SWATCH-FIVB World Championships as Americans Phil Dalhausser and Todd Rogers will attempt to join compatriots Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh atop the podium for this weekend’s US$1-million “Beach Bash” in the Swiss Alps.
May-Treanor and Walsh captured the women’s world title here Saturday afternoon and Dalhausser and Rogers will get their opportunity Sunday afternoon after their 21-16, 13-21 and 19-17 victory in 68 minutes over reigning Olympic champions Emanuel Rego and Ricardo Santos of Brazil.
Brazil captured both gender’s top two podium spots in the 1997 and 1999 SWATCH-FIVB World Championships at Los Angeles and Marseille, France, respectively. In the next three world finals, Brazilian men captured the gold medal in 2003 in Rio de Janeiro and 2005 in Berlin, while Adriana Behar and Shelda Bede captured their second SWATCH-FIVB World Championship in 2001 at Klagenfurt, Austria.
With their seventh-straight win of the competition, Dalhausser and Rogers will challenge the SWATCH-FIVB World Tours’s newest sensation Igor Kolodinsky and his veteran Russian partner Dmitri Barsouk for Beach Volleyball second-most prestigious gold medal and the $60,000 first-place prize.
After losing their first pool play match in the 2007 SWATCH-FIVB World Championships powered by 1to1 energy, Kolodinsky and Barsouk have rebounded with six-straight wins, including a 21-13 and 21-19 win in 47 minutes over Australian Olympians Andrew Schacht and Joshua Slack.
While Dalhausser and Rogers will be competing for their third SWATCH-FIVB World Tour gold medal after splitting a pair of title matches last season in Croatia and Austria with Emanuel and Ricardo, Kolodiinsky and Barsouk will be the first Russian men’s or women’s team to vie for a “major” international Beach Volleyball crown.
Kolodinsky and Barsouk, who have never played Dalhausser and Rogers, are becoming the most successful Russian Beach Volleyball team since the start of the SWATCH-FIVB World Tour in 1987. Russia had only one bronze medal and two “final four” finishes in the first 20 years of the international circuit as Kolodinsky and Barsouk were playing in their sixth semi-final this season with bronze medal finishes in Italy, Croatia and last week in Marseille.
With the last three Swiss men’s teams being eliminated from the competition Friday, Dalhausser has become a “favorite son” as he was born in Switzerland and still has family in the country. In addition, his parents from Florida are visiting the relatives while watching their 27-year old son compete for a world championship medal.
“There will be a little bit of Switzerland represented in the gold medal match,” said Dalhausser after his teams second win in six meetings with Emanuel and Ricardo, the reigning Olympic champions. “It feels great to have success in this country where it all started for me. We still have a lot of work to do to win the title, but at least we have an opportunity to become the first American men’s team to win a world championship.”
The eighth of 13 double gender stops on the 2007 SWATCH-FIVB World Tour, the women’s 2007 SWATCH-FIVB World Championships ended Saturday with reigning Olympic champions May-Treanor and Walsh defeating Jia Tian and Jie Wang of China 21-16 and 21-10 for their third-straight world title.