Talking Stats: FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour - May 12
Here is a ‘full course’ meal to feast on around the net during the bye week on the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour:
• European men win again – While Italy made its third straight final, it was the team from Latvia that took home the gold this week, with Aleksandrs Samoilovs/Janis Smedins defeating Matteo and Paolo Ingrosso in the finals. This makes four straight gold medals for the European Confederation, including all three this season (Fuzhou – Italy, Shanghai – Italy, and Puerto Vallarta – Latvia) and the final event of last season in Durban which was also won by the Latvian duo. European men’s teams have only accomplished this once previously on the FIVB World Tour, in 2005 when Germany’s Julius Brink/Kjell Schneider won on July 17 in Espinho, Switzerland’s Markus Egger/Martin Laciga won on July 24 in Stare Jablonki, Switzerland’s Patrick Heuscher/Stefan Kobel won on July 31 in Paris, and Germany’s Christopher Dieckmann/Andreas Scheuerpflug won on August 7 in Klagenfurt.
• While FIVB powerhouse Brazil has been shut out of titles during Europe’s golden span, if history repeats itself, the South American nation should bounce back with a vengeance. After Europe won its four in a row in 2005, Brazil won the next five men’s events to close out the season and the first two of 2006, making it seven straight gold medals.
• Mexico wins its first medal – Before winning the bronze medal in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico had entered 54 different men’s teams in 119 FIVB World Tour events, and 55 women’s teams in 188 events without a podium finish. The best finish the Mexican men’s teams could muster was a seventh place by Juan Rodriguez Ibarra/Joel Sotelo in the inaugural event held in Mexico, back in 1999 at Acapulco. Mexican women’s teams have four previous fifth-place finishes including one this week in Puerto Vallarta by Bibiana Candelas/Martha Revuelta.
• The Ingrosso twin brothers and Mexico fight out another long duel – When Italy’s Matteo and Paolo Ingrosso played Mexico’s Lombardo Ontiveros/Juan Virgen in the season-opening event in Fuzhou, it started the season as the longest two-game match with the Mexicans prevailing 25-23 and 27-25 in 55 minutes. When the two teams met again in the semifinals in Puerto Vallarta, they matched their season-high 55 minutes with the Italians gaining revenge by winning this time 28-26 and 21-17.
• Chilean men’s best finish – Cousins Esteban and Marco Grimalt, who are ranked No. 1 in the men’s FIVB Season rankings, thanks to the early start of the South American tour, didn’t manage to win a medal in Puerto Vallarta, but they did finish fifth, capturing Chile’s best-ever finish in an FIVB World Tour event, improving on ninth-place finishes by Rodrigo Grimalt/Allan Jarry in 1995 at Rio de Janeiro and their own personal best in last season’s São Paulo Grand Slam. Ninth place is also the best finish for a Chilean women’s team by Carolina Coddou Silva/Lia Karmelic in 1994 on their country’s home soil in La Serena.
• Juliana is the new No. 1 – Brazil’s Juliana Felisberta da Silva may not have won the gold medal in Puerto Vallarta, but she did surpass her long-time teammate Larissa Franca along the way to her silver-medal finish to become the new career women’s leader in FIVB World Tour earnings. Juliana passed Larissa by US$1,490 after her semifinal win, boosting her lifetime FIVB World Tour earnings to US$1,348,725 – a culmination of 113 World Tour events over a career that began in 2003. Juliana and Larissa played 108 FIVB World Tour events together, winning 45 gold medals as partners with each netting US$1,328,475. Larissa earned her career total US$1,347,235 by participating in 115 FIVB World Tour events and winning 46 gold medals in her eleven-year career that spanned from 2002-2012.
• Five straight podiums for China – With Xinyi Xia/Chen Xue winning the bronze-medal in Puerto Vallarta, their fourth in the six events they’ve played together since forming their partnership in October, 2013 and Fan Wang/Yuan Yue achieving their first podium in Shanghai last week, Chinese women have graced the podium for five consecutive events dating back to the event in Phuket last year. China achieved this three prior times with the latest in August-October, 2010. Chinese women also put together streaks of eight consecutive podiums from August, 2006 through June, 2007, followed by a ninthth-place finish, then six-straight more in June and July.
• Women’s qualifiers continue to struggle in Pool Play – With only 11 teams in the qualification tournament, all but three advanced to the main draw without having to play a match, while the others only needed to win once. However, not having to play more than once, or not at all, didn’t seem to help the eight teams who did qualify. For the second time this season, only three teams who gained entry into the tournament through the qualification tournament made it past pool play into the 24-team single elimination rounds. This is the sixth time it has happened since 2012 (Fuzhou 2014, Rome 2013, Beijing 2012, Rome 2012, and Gstaad 2012), and only twice before have less than three teams advanced, with only two advancing in Moscow 2008 and Maoming 2002.
• Brazilian women back on top – It’s not often that the Brazilian women don’t win a gold medal in an FIVB World Tour event, even rarer that they have a span of six consecutive events without a title. Before winning in Puerto Vallarta, Brazil hadn’t won women’s gold since the Salgado sisters won at The Moscow Grand Slam in August of last season. Only three times previously had Brazil not won for this many consecutive events, the latest being ten years ago, when they didn’t win over a span of eight-straight events from August, 2003 through May, 2004. The Brazilians, however, broke their ill-fortuned streak and guaranteed a gold medal in Puerto Vallarta by winning both semi-final matches, the 49th time Brazil has advanced both teams to the gold-medal match.
Based in Lausanne, Switzerland as the international governing body for the Olympic sports of Beach Volleyball and Volleyball, the 2014 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour calendar features a record purse of US$10.2 million with a season that extends from late April to mid-December competing at 20 venues in 18 countries. This year’s FIVB World Tour includes a record 10 FIVB Grand Slam events, the inaugural Grand Slam Finale and 10 FIVB Open Tournaments throughout the world, helping expand the door for development of the sport even further.
The 10 FIVB Grand Slam competitions, all double-gender, have eight with $800,000 in total purses while both The Hague, Netherlands and the Long Beach, Calif., USA event will have $1 million each in prize money, the most in FIVB Grand Slam history.
The 10 FIVB Open tournaments in 2014, seven double-gender, two men only and two women only, have $150,000 total purses for the double gender events and $75,000 for the single-gender events. There are also four age-group FIVB World Championships for U-17, U-19, U-21, U-23.