Brazil’s Larissa França and Juliana Felisberta finished Women’s
World Tour Points Champions for the seventh – and last – time.
Gold medals in Beijing, Berlin and at the Mazury Orlen Open in
Poland meant they just pipped China’s Zhang Xi and Chen Xue,
points to 5,240, with another Brazilian pairing, Maria
Antonelli and Talita Antunes, coming third.
It was a fitting way for Juliana and Larissa to end their record-breaking
partnership. Next year will see Juliana pair up with Maria Antonelli
while Larissa takes a break from the game. Olympic champions Kerri
Walsh and Misty May-Treanor will also be notable absentees following
May-Treanor’s retirement and with Walsh expecting her third child.
It will be all change in the men’s event too, with 2012 Points
Champions Jake Gibb and Sean Rosenthal going their separate ways,
the latter to pair up with Phil Dalhausser following the decision by
Dalhausser’s 2008 Olympic gold medal-winning partner Todd Rogers
to reduce his playing schedule.
Olympic bronze medallists Martins Plavins and Janis Smedins of Latvia
will also play with different partners in 2013, while notable retirements
included Switzerland’s Sascha Heyer and Simone Kuhn, Sara Göller of
Germany and Natalie Cook of Australia.
Revolution on the beach
The 2012 international beach volleyball season was
certainly not all about the Olympic Games. The season
featured 12 women’s and 11 men’s FIVB World Tour
events, and the culmination of the first edition of the
Beach Volleyball Continental Cup.
Martins Plavins (centre) and Janis Smedins (right) won their first Tour gold
medal at the last men’s event of the season in Stare Jablonki, but they will
also be with different partners next season