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Top-ranked Canadians seek to end Brazil & USA dominance

Canadians Melissa Humana-Paredes (left) and Sarah Pavan will be seeking to end the American and Brazilian dominance in winning gold medals at USA-hosted FIVB World Tour events.
Huntington Beach, USA, April 27, 2018 - Can top-ranked Melissa Humana-Paredes and Sarah Pavan of Canada end the dominance by women's teams from the USA and Brazil by winning the gold medals at next week's United States-hosted FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour event at Huntington Beach?

This will be one of the major storylines when play opens on Tuesday at the Huntington Beach Open as Brazil and the United States have dominated the awards ceremonies since the first FIVB World Tour event was staged on the North American continent in 1994. With 110 FIVB medals being awarded at USA World Tour events, men and women from the United States have combined to win 38 medals (12 titles) and Brazilian pairs have 44 podium placements (22 titles).

The Huntington Beach Open will be the 19th FIVB World Tour stop in the United States and the second this season as the Fort Lauderdale Major was held in February in south Florida where the teams of Fernanda Alves/Barbara Seixas of Brazil and Americans Phil Dalhausser/Nick Lucena topped the women's and men's podiums, respectively.

With Fernanda and Barbara's win in the Fort Lauderdale finale over compatriots Carolina Horta and Taiana Lima, a Brazilian women's team has topped a USA event podium 12 times, including two-straight gold medal finishes. The other six women's gold medals won at USA-hosted tournaments were by American pairs.

Brazilian medal winners at the 2018 Fort Lauderdale Major included (left to right) Carolina, Taiana, Fernanda and Barbara.

Dalhausser and Lucena's Fort Lauderdale gold medal win over Italians Daniele Lupo and Paolo Nicolai snapped a string of five-straight gold medal finishes by Brazilian pairs on American sand. Overall, Brazilian men have captured the top podium spot at USA events 10 times with American netting six gold medals.

The 2018 Fort Lauderdale Major podium featured (left to right) Paolo Nicolai, Daniele Lupo, Nick Lucena, Phil Dalhausser, Aleksandrs Samoilovs and Janis Smedins.

Norway's Jan Kvalheim and Bjorn Maaseide are the only non-American/Brazilian team to win a FIVB World Tour gold medal on American sand as the Scandinavian pair won the inaugural USA event in 1994 on South Beach in Miami followed by a podium-topping performance in 1996 in the first-ever international beach volleyball event played in southern California. In both wins, the Norwegians defeated the legendary Brazilian pair of Roberto Lopes and Franco Neto in the Miami and Hermosa finales.

FIVB President Dr. Ary S. Graça F° (centre) with Norwegians Jan Kvalheim (left) and Bjorn Maaseide.

As for medals, the American men have netted 21 podium placements at USA-hosted events followed by Brazil with 18 top three finishes.  Argentina (two medals), Canada (2), Italy (2), Latvia (2), Norway (2), Spain (2), Switzerland (2), Netherlands (1) and Poland (1). Brazilian women have won 26 medals at USA events with American pairs claiming 17 followed by Germany (5), Australia (3), Spain (2), China (1) and the Slovakia (1).

In addition to Fernanda/Barbara, Carolina/Taiana, Dalhausser/Lucena, other teams competing at the 2018 Huntington Beach Open that have won medals at USA-hosted events are Brazilians Alison Cerutti/Bruno Oscar Schmidt, Saymon Barbosa/Alvaro Filho and Agatha Bednarczuk/Eduarda “Duda” Lisboa, Chantal Laboureur/Julia Sude of Germany, Aleksandrs Samoilovs/Janis Smedins of Latvia, Spaniards Pablo Herrera/Adrian Gavira and Elsa Baquerizo/Liliana Fernandez of Spain.

Long Beach 2015 medal winners were (left to right) Phil Dalhauser, Nick Lucena, Bruno Oscar Schmidt, Alison Cerutti, Adrian Gavira and Pablo Herrera.

An 11th medal winning team at a USA event was scheduled to compete in Huntington Beach, but an injury for Lupo forced him to withdraw from the event with Nicolai. In addition to their silver medal finish earlier this year in Fort Lauderdale, Lupo and Nicolai captured the bronze medal at the 2013 Long Beach stop where Dalhausser and Sean Rosenthal defeated Gavira and Herrera in the gold medal finale while the Italians defeated Americans Jake Gibb and Casey Patterson in the bronze medal match.

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