Gstaad, Switzerland, May 19, 2012 – Organizers of the vastly popular annual stop on the FIVB Beach Volleyball SWATCH World Tour officially launched plans for this year’s summer spectacle during a media conference this past Friday (May 18) held at the Bossard Arena. This year’s US$600,000 1to1 energy Grand Slam will again be a double-gender tournament and will be held July 2-8 in the purpose-built stadium in the center of Gstaad and outer-courts facility on the outskirts of the picturesque Swiss village.
With several top Swiss athletes and Olympic hopefuls joining in the festivities, Tournament Director Ruedi Kunz unveiled extensive plans that will once again showcase the FIVB SWATCH World Tour. This year’s event will be held on the eve on the 2012 London Olympic Games where the beach volleyball competition will run from July 27 through August 9.
This year’s 1to1 energy Grand Slam will be the fifth of and FIVB-record eight grand slam events on the 2012 FIVB SWATCH World Tour. With the Gstaad stadium traditionally standing-room-only for some matches each day, tickets are available on-line at www.ticketcorner.ch.
Joining Kunz and several other top Swiss beach volleyball officials were several top Swiss athletes including two men’s teams – Jefferson Bellaguarda/Patrick Heuscher and Sebastian Chevallier/Sascha Heyer. The season of 2012 has been announced by Heyer as the final year on the FIVB SWATCH World Tour for the 39-year old Swiss star.
"As far as ticket sales, we have now already 29 percent more tickets sold than last year at this time, "said a delighted Kunz. “The field for the tournament is filled. It looks also this year as if we have the best male and female players of the world rankings entered as of now and we are one of the last three tournaments before the Olympics and the first one after qualifying ends."
Returning for the 12th-consecutive year as a double-gender event, the FIVB SWATCH World Tour first visited Gstaad with a women-only tournament in 2000. Gstaad hosted the 2007 FIVB Beach Volleyball SWATCH World Championships where were won by USA’s Phil Dalhausser/Todd Rogers and USA’s Misty May-Treanor/Kerri Walsh.
Last year’s gold medal winners in Gstaad were all from Brazil as Alison Cerutti/Emanuel Rego won the men’s title and Juliana Felisberta Silva/Larissa Franca captured the women’s crown.
As his final visit to Gstaad as a player draws near, Heyer said, "I have wonderful memories of Gstaad. There were many wonderful moments. The spectators are great and especially at the world championships (2007) I have good memories. Gstaad each year is a highlight for us all. For me, this year it will of course be very special. "
The leading Swiss women’s team in the Olympic qualification process is the Simone Kuhn/Nadine Zumkehr tandem.
With numerous entertainment and social major sidelights to the main event, this year’s 1to1 energy Grand Slam will also be part a very special Swiss government pilot research project regarding the ecology, sustainability and sporting special events.
"We accept a pilot project of the Swiss Olympic and the Federal Office of Spatial Development (ARE), sports At (FOSPO) and the Environment (FOEN) on sustainability reporting Sports Events,” said Kunz.
“We are the first SwissTopSport event that will develop a sustainability report according to the guidelines of the Event Organizers Sector Supplement (EOSS) by the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) to create, what information on the ecological, economic and social performance of our event reveals. Our pilot project is to carry the GRI guidelines in Swiss sport. We hope that other major events are based on the criteria developed here in Gstaad.”
With 30 total, Brazil has won the most medals overall in Gstaad (14 men and 16 women), followed by the United States with 15 (five men, 10 women), China and Germany with seven each, Switzerland with three, Australia two, and Argentina, Italy, Netherlands, Russia and Spain with one each.
The FIVB SWATCH World Tour will be coming to Gstaad following a two-week break after the Rome Grand Slam (June 12-17). Rome is the last world tour event counting towards the 2012 Olympic Games.