USA to host first FIVB event since 2003 at FIVB Long Beach Grand Slam
This is the 10th FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour double-gender event in the USA, which includes the FIVB World Championships in Los Angeles in 1997 and the 2003 event at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Carson, California.
This year’s FIVB World Tour Grand Slams is using a pool format. Long Beach will begin with a one-day qualification tournament to determine the final eight spots in each gender’s 32-team main draw tournaments followed by round-robin pool play, where pools of four will play three matches each, with a single-elimination bracket for the final 24 teams (the top three from each pool).
Women will begin play on Monday, July 22 and conclude with medal matches on Saturday, July 27. The men’s action will start on Tuesday, July 23, culminating with the men’s medal matches on Sunday, July 28.
In the first nine years of USA men’s tournaments, Brazil has won five gold medals, Norway has won two and the USA has won one. Likewise in the USA women’s tournaments, Brazil has won six gold medals and the USA has won three.
Even though it has been 10 years since a world tour event has been held in the United States, three of the previous medal winners in the US tournaments are still active. On the men’s side Brazil’s Emanuel Rego and Ricardo Santos are still playing and for the women, USA’s Kerri Walsh-Jennings is still competing.
Emanuel, the beach volleyball player with the hihest number of wins, has won four medals in FIVB events in the USA which include a silver medal in 1995, a bronze in 1996 playing with Ze Marco de Melo, a gold medal in 2000 with Jose Loiola and then another in 2003 with Ricardo. Ricardo also earned a silver medal in 2000 playing with Ze Marco.
Walsh-Jennings won the gold medal in 2003 playing with Misty May-Treanor. After winning an unprecedented third gold medal at the London 2012 Olympics, May-Treanor retired from playing and Walsh-Jennings is on maternity leave following the birth of her third child. However, Walsh-Jennings is expected to be back in action in time for this year’s FIVB Long Beach Grand Slam.
The women’s team with the most number of wins in FIVB history in USA events has been Brazil’s 1996 Olympic Gold Medalists Sandra Pires/Jackie Silva who together won four gold medals in USA events, including the 1997 FIVB World Championships held at UCLA.
The 2013 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour comprises 10 Grand Slam events and the 2013 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships. Not part of the World Tour but still counting towards the FIVB World Rankings, the FIVB yearly calendar also includes eight Open events throughout the world to help open the door for development of the sport. The FIVB Long Beach Grand Slam will be sixth of the season, starting the second half of the 2013 FIVB World Tour.
Overall in the FIVB men’s medals’ race in the USA, Brazil leads with 11 medals followed by the United States with seven, Argentina, Norway and Switzerland with two each and Canada with one.
Brazil and the United States are tied in in the FIVB’s overall women’s medal count in the USA with 12 each, with Australia earning the other three.
Long Beach is a city situated in Los Angeles County in Southern California, on the Pacific coast of the United States. The city is the 36th-largest city in the nation and the seventh-largest in California with a population of nearly 475,000. In addition, Long Beach is the second largest city within the Greater Los Angeles Area and after Los Angeles is the principal city of the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana metropolitan area.