Gstaad, Switzerland, July 8, 2012—With the sun intermittently breaking through until it shone brightly upon the sold-out Gstaad stadium center court, USA’s Jake Gibb/Sean Rosenthal survived a classic rematch from the last tour stop to capture their fourth gold medal on the FIVB Beach Volleyball SWATCH World Tour Sunday, concluding the week-long $600,000 1to1 energy Grand Slam in Gstaad, Switzerland.
The world’s top beach volleyball tandems were Switzerland as the extremely popular double-gender event marked the 13th consecutive visit by the world tour with Gstaad hosting 11 men’s and 12 previous women’s events. Village Gstaad is nestled in a magnificent valley in Southwestern Switzerland at 3,440 feet (1,050 meters) above sea-level, the highest altitude a FIVB Beach Volleyball SWATCH World Tour stop is held annually.
In a rematch of the gold medal match in Rome on June 16, USA’s third-seeded Gibb/Rosenthal won their second straight grand slam event by once again defeating Brazil’s second-seeded reigning FIVB SWATCH World Champions Alison Cerutti/Emanuel Rego. The Gstaad gold medal match was at two-set victory for the Americans like Rome, but unlike Rome, Sunday’s match was much closer with USA’s Gibb/Rosenthal defeating Brazil’s Alison/Emanuel by twin scores of 21-17, 21-17 in the 38-minute match.
USA’s Gibb/Rosenthal have now played 59 FIVB SWATCH World Tour events together and this was their 12th final four appearance and fourth gold medal and 10th total medal.
Brazil’s Alison/Emanuel, who competed in their 30th FIVB SWATCH World Tour event together in Gstaad where they were the defending champions, now 21 final four appearances and together have now won seven silver medals and 20 medals total.
Brazil’s Alison/Emanuel still hold a 6-2 edge in the series between the two teams. Including meeting in the last five consecutive tworld tour events as both teams have qualified for the upcoming 2012 London Olympic games where they will be one of two teams representing each of their respective countries. In Gstaad, USA’s Gibb/Rosenthal finished with a perfect 6-1 record with five wins coming in two sets while Brazil’s Alison/Emanuel finished 6-1 with all their wins in two-sets
In the battle for men’s gold between two of the most powerful countries in all of beach volleyball, Brazil and the United States are tied at 27-27 in their long history on the FIVB SWATCH World Tour.
BIG PURSE IN GSTAAD
The fifth of eight FIVB SWATCH World Tour grand slam events, the gold medal teams in each gender in the 1to1 energy Grand Slam will each split $43,500, the silver $29,500, the bronze $23,000 and fourth place $18,400. The women’s medal matches will be held Saturday and the men’s medal matches will be played on Sunday in the raucous Gstaad stadium center court. For more information on the 2012 FIVB Beach Volleyball SWATCH World Tour or the event, please visit www.fivb.org. For additional information on the 1to1 energy Grand Slam, please visit the event website at www.beachworldtour.ch.
INSIDE THE GOLD
In the exciting men’s gold medal match that was a rematch of the recent Rome final, USA’s Gibb/Rosenthal picked up where they left off in Italy and led early in the first set and finished the 21-18 win when Gibb went over the top of Emanuel at the net for a deep corner kill for the set-winning point
The second set started out much closer and was tied at each point up to 5-5 when the Americans scored four straight points to move ahead 10-6. USA’s Gibb/Rosenthal keep around a two to four-point margin for several serves to gaining a 17-14 point lead. Brazil’s Alison/Emanuel closed to 15-17 and then 16-17 before USA’s Gibb/Rosenthal scored five of the last six points to secure the set, match and gold medal victory.
In closing out the match, Gibb scored the final four points of the match for USA as he placed a deep corner shot, blocked Alison, blocked Emanuel and ended it with a precision kill down the middle between Alison and Emanuel.
FIGHT FOR THE BRONZE
In the bronze medal match, Italy’s 13th-seeded Daniele Lupo/Paolo Nicolai started fast in both sets and held off any comeback attempt as they defeated USA’s top-seeded and 2008 Olympic champions Phil Dalhausser/Todd Rogers, 21-19 and 21-18 in 38 minutes.
Italy’s Lupo/Nicolai who have played 14 world tour events together and this was their third final four appearance and their first bronze medal to give them two medals in their short partnership.
USA’s two-time Gstaad champions Dalhausser/Rogers were playing in their 54th FIVB SWATCH World Tour event together and earned their 42nd final four appearance. This was only their third fourth-place finish.
With both teams having qualifying for the upcoming 2012 London Olympics, the world tour series between the two teams now has Italy leading 2-1, USA’s Dalhausser/Rogers won the first meeting in Shanghai, China this year and Italy’s Lupo/Nicolai won the second in Beijing in mid-May prior to Sunday’s match.
To set the stage for the medal matches later in the day, the semifinals played Sunday morning proved to be rather lopsided in front of a nearly-packed Gstaad stadium center court crowd. In the first one Brazil’s Alison/Emanuel crunched Italy’s Lupo/Nicolai in just 31 minutes, 21-12, 21-13. The expected battle royale between USA’s top two teams never materialize as Gibb/Rosenthal walked away from Dalhausser/Rogers, 21-10, 21-18 in 34 minutes.
Brazil’s Alison/Emanuel extended their series record against Italy’s Lupo/Nicolai to 6-1 with their victory. In the all-American semifinal match, USA’s Gibb/Rosenthal improved their all-time FIVB SWATCH World Tour record against compatriots Dalhausser/Rogers to 6-14. Prior to Sunday’s semifinal match, two of the last three times the two teams have met were in gold medal matches, where both were won by Dalhausser/Rogers and both lasted over an hour and went three sets before a winner was decided. Those two previous meetings were last year in Quebec City, Canada and this year in Shanghai, China.
TO QUOTE OR NOT TO QUOTE
After their second straight gold medal victory over Brazil’s Alison/Emanuel, USA’s Gibb said, “It was an amazing tournament for us once again. It is an honor to play and rewarding to defeat a team like Alison and Emanuel who are the top team in the world. Sean and I have been playing together for seven years and two beat the reigning world champions in two straight gold medal matches is unbelievable.”
USA’s Rosenthal commented on the battle they have waged for almost two years for the final team USA Olympic berth with Matt Fuerbringer/Nick Lucena, saying, “We have really been fighting it out with Matt and Nick for that Olympic spot and after all those months it came down to the last tournament and nearly the last match before it was finally decided. I think this intense secondary battle with our fellow Americans have helped us raise our game to the level it is now and we hope it carries forward to London.”
The legendary Emanuel was disappointed as well but complimentary after the gold medal match, stating, “We didn’t play very well and it showed in the final result. We congratulate the American team and they honestly didn’t give us any chances in the gold medal match. They have beaten us in two straight gold medal matches but we know what we need to work on and I know we will be ready to play better in London.”
FIVB SWATCH WORLD TOUR CALENDAR
The 2012 calendar features 13 women's and 13 men's events, including nine double-gender tournaments, within four of the five FIVB confederations in addition to the approaching 2012 London Olympic Games on July 28 to August 9 in a purpose-built 15,000 stadium on the grounds of the iconic Horse Guards Parde. The 2012 FIVB SWATCH World Tour is offering $6.32-million in prize money.
NEXT STOPS: BERLIN, KLAGENFURT…LONDON
After the 1to1 energy Grand Slam, the 2012 FIVB Swatch World Tour continues with the next grand slam double-gender event July 10-15 for the smart Grand Slam Berlin. After that the tour moves to Klagenfurt, Austria July 16-22 for the A1 Grand Slam presented by ERGO. The total prize money for each grand slam event is $600,000.
From there, 24 qualified teams in each gender will be in London for the XXX Olympiad and fifth one with beach volleyball included as a medal sport. The competition will be held July 28 through August 9 in a purpose-built 15,000 sold-out stadium on the grounds of the iconic Horse Guards Parade in the heart of central London. The drawing of lots for pool assignments will be held on July 19 in Klagenfurt.
The 1to1 energy Grand Slam was the 239th women’s event and 279th men’s event on the FIVB Beach Volleyball Swatch World Tour (open, grand slam, Olympic and Goodwill). The first men’s FIVB SWATCH World Tour event was played Feb. 17-22, 1987 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The first women’s event was played Aug. 14-16, 1992 at Almeria, Spain.