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Sinjin Smith: 'There’s a lot of excitement this season'

Phil Dalhausser and Sean Rosenthal team up this year.
Lausanne, Switzerland, May 23, 2013 – With two wins for American men in the first two FIVB beach volleyball events of the season, US beach volleyball legend Sinjin Smith sat down with to discuss his thoughts and expectations for the season.

"This year, the US men’s beach volleyball pairs are freshened up, with long-time duo Phil Dalhausser and Todd Rogers splitting, as 38-year-old Rogers plans to cut back on international play. By joining with new partner Sean Rosenthal, Dalhausser is able to play on the right side of the court. The move looks good so far, as the due took first place at their first tournament together in the Fuzhou Open.”

“Rosenthal’s former partner for seven years, Jake Gibb, is now paired with Casey Patterson. Their team also is proving strong, as they took home gold at the Shanghai Grand Slam, after a battle in the finals against Brazil’s Pedro Solberg Salgado/Bruno Oscar Schmidt.”

“There’s a lot of excitement this season, because last year, everyone knew who Dalhausser and Rogers were. There were no surprises. Rogers was very steady and technical, and Dalhausser was a beast with great control.”

“Nobody really knew how Dalhauser and Rosenthal would do this year. All they knew was that Rosenthal was a great athlete and he finished strong on the World Tour with Gibb last year, even though they fell short at the London Olympics.”

“Dalhausser and Rosenthal were either going to be that team that had more talent than any other team, and would challenge anyone – but have a hard time putting it together to win – or they would be the team who would win tournaments and everyone would be trying to knock off.”

“Winning early in the season says quite a bit for who they could be as a team. If they stay healthy, there is no reason why we won’t see them win consistently.”

“Even though Gibb proved himself with a great 2012 season, Gibb and Patterson were more of a wildcard this year, as Patterson hasn’t had much international experience thus far. A win this early in the season could mean great things for them, as long as it wasn’t a ‘flash in the pan.”

“It will still be a big test for Patterson to consistently perform at that level. But, there is nobody stronger or steadier than Gibb to push him through to the finish line. Another thing about Patterson – he is one of the most fun guys to watch, and plays with a ton of emotion.”

“Who else is good around the world? The answer is everybody."

"The thing that amazes me is that there is so much talent coming from all parts of the world, especially the young teams of Latvia's Janis Smedins and Aleksandrs Samoilovs, and Italy's Nicolai Paolo and Daniele Lupo. The young talent from many countries means a real fight for the guys who have been there for several years.”

“I am still amazed at how long and how successful 40-year-old Emanuel has competed.  He stands alone in both his success and longevity, and has proven that he still has the desire to play, which is the most difficult thing to maintain over such a long career.”

“He and Alison will be making their first appearance of the season at the Corrientes Grand Slam, after an injury to Alison’s finger kept them out of the first two events. The pair will have a tough time joining the tour when everyone else is settled in, but don’t count them out.

“If Emanuel stays healthy, the only thing that will stop his success on the tour is his desire. Our sport is lucky to have such a great athlete and a good person be a champion for the sport. Emanuel's experience and Alison's tenacity should put them right back at the top in the challenge for gold."

Sinjin Smith is a beach volleyball olympian and world-champion, dominating men's beach volleyball from the late 1980s to the early 1990s with partner Randy Stokles, as the "kings of the beach." Smith is a member of the International Volleyball Hall of Fame (2003) and the California Beach Volleyball Hall of Fame (2002). He was instrumental in developing the World Tour in the beginning of FIVB beach volleyball and developing beach volleyball as an Olympic sport while serving as president of the FIVB World Council. Smith also was instrumental in developing Olympic programs and guidelines for organizers, as well as developing professional beach volleyball in the USA, including getting it aired on TV. Since retirement, Smith has worked to develop youth, collegiate, amateur and beach volleyball is the USA. He continues to serve on the FIVB Beach Volleyball Commission, to oversee the World Tour and Olympic Program. His efforts helped the World Tour return to the USA in 2013, with the Long Beach Grand Slam, to be held July 22-27, 2013. 

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