Plavins and Smedins, who ranked fourth at the 2011 FIVB World
Championships, topped their pool in London with three straight wins –
including a first-ever success over Nummerdor/Schuil. In the knockout
phase they overcame Norway’s Tarjei Skarlund and Martin Spinnangr,
before defeating the American fourth seeds, Jake Gibb and Sean
Rosenthal, 2-1 (19-21, 21-18, 15-11).
Despite a semifinal loss to Emanuel Rego and Alison Cerutti, they
bounced back to take bronze – and cue a hero’s welcome back in Riga,
where a Hummer Limousine was waiting for them at the airport. “There
were a lot of people there and they carried us to our car,” said Plavins.
There was even more to celebrate after victories over top seeds Alison
and Emanuel (2-0) and Todd Rogers and Phil Dalhausser (2-1) at
the Mazury Open. “We didn’t expect to beat such great teams like
Emanuel and Alison, and Rogers and Dalhausser,” added Plavins. “We
didn’t think we had a chance, but we showed we could and now we
believe in ourselves.” After the month they have had, it is about time.
Martins Plavins: ‘We didn’t think we had a chance’
With their gold medals at the Mazury Open
Janis Smedins was the fourth best blocker in London with 24