Talking stats: 2014 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour—June 23
This week, the FIVB World Tour finishes three consecutive US$800,000 FIVB Grand Slams in Norway with the FIVB Stavanger Grand Slam starting Tuesday
Here are some scrumptious samplers from the FIVB Berlin smart Grand Slam, before finishing these very busy three weeks. A selection of taste-testers of FIVB Beach Volleyball appetizers:
• All-American Affair – Both teams playing in the men’s gold medal match of the FIVB World Tour Berlin smart Grand Slam were from the United States, marking the 15th time that both men’s teams in the finals were American. The last time it happened was back in May of 2012 in Shanghai when Phil Dalhausser was still playing with Todd Rogers and Jake Gibb was still playing with Sean Rosenthal. Dalhausser/Rogers won that matchup between the two American Olympic teams.
• First time is a charm – Three of the four players in the men’s gold medal matches were playing in their first FIVB World Tour final. Both Ryan Doherty’s and Tri Bourne’s best previous FIVB World Tour finish were 5th places in 12 previous events for Doherty and four previous events for Bourne, and John Hyden’s was two ninth place finishes in 19 previous events. Only Nick Lucena, who had three previous FIVB World Tour silver medals, one bronze medal, and two fourth-place finishes in 55 events, had even been in an FIVB World Tour semifinal before Berlin. Bourne and Hyden also became the fifth and sixth men’s first-time winners out of the six men’s events so far on the 2014 FIVB World Tour calendar.
• Qualifier teams sweep the men’s podium – All three teams on the men’s podium advanced into the main draw from the qualifying tournament. Gold medalists Tri Bourne/John Hyden were the seventh seed in the qualifier, silver medalists Ryan Doherty/Nick Lucena where the third seed in the qualifier, and bronze medalists Alison Cerutti/Bruno Oscar Schmidt were the top seed in the qualifier. Only three times before had even two qualifier teams made a men’s final four, and each time only one of those teams stood on the podium with two gold medals and a silver medal.
• Lowest combined seeds in a men’s final – Gold medalists Tri Bourne/John Hyden were the 27th-seed team in the main draw and silver medalists Ryan Doherty/Nick Lucena were the 24th-seeded team making a combined 51, the highest number ever in a men’s gold medal match. The previous high was 39, also an all-American final where 32nd-seeded Dax Holdren/Todd Rogers defeated seventh-seeded Rob Heidger/Kevin Wong at the FIVB World Tour Mexico Open, held in Rosarito back in June of 2000.
• Brazilian men finally win a medal – Brazil guaranteed itself a medal in Berlin by placing two teams in the final four. After losing both semifinals, Brazil claimed a bronze medal, ending its streak of four events without a medal after winning silver in the season-opening FIVB Fuzhou Open. Brazilian men still haven’t won a gold medal since the FIVB Xiamen Grand Slam in October of 2013 – seven straight events now. This is Brazil’s longest winless streak since going 14 straight from May of 2010 through May of 2011. Brazil bounced back with a vengeance from that streak with six straight gold medals.
• Czech women get the $57,000 check – The Czech Republic had never won a women’s FIVB World Tour gold medal until the earlier event on their home soil in Prague four weeks ago. That event was an Open with many teams from Brazil and the United States not in the draw, and Kristyna Kolocova/Marketa Slukova split just $11,000 for winning the gold in Prague. This event in Berlin was a Grand Slam, and Kolocova/Slukova got to split $57,000, the largest paycheck ever for a team from the Czech Republic. The European nation is also still undefeated in FIVB World Tour gold medal matches after previously losing all 12 semifinal matches.
• Juliana wins round two against Walsh Jennings – Since returning to the FIVB World Tour after taking a year off, Brazil’s Juliana Felisberta/Maria Antonelli have played Kerri Walsh Jennings and her new partner, April Ross, from the United States one time previously – in the gold medal match of the season-opener in Fuzhou. Walsh Jennings and Ross won the first meeting 21-11 and 21-18 in just 33 minutes. In the FIVB Berlin smart Grand Slam, Juliana and Maria got revenge, defeating Walsh Jennings and Ross in three sets, 18-21, 21-14, and 15-12 in the fifth-place matches. Juliana and Walsh Jenningshave played each other 25 times in FIVB World Tour competition, dating back to 2003, with Walsh Jennings claiming 15 victories and Juliana winning 10 times.
• Australia women making a comeback – Buoyed by their country’s gold medal performance two weeks ago in the FIVB U23 World Championships, Australia had its best FIVB World Tour finish in 14 events, dating back to the FIVB World Tour Moscow Grand Slam in August of 2013. Louise Bawden/Taliqua Clancy finished 5th this week in Berlin matching their finish in Moscow last season. This coming week in Stavanger will tell if they can match their compatriots, Natalie Cook/Tamsin Hinchley, who had the previous best finishes for Australia, back-to-back 5th-places at the FIVB World Tour Klagenfurt and Berlin Grand Slams back in July of 2012.
• German women still perfect in qualifying – Germany placed a team from the qualifying tournament into the main draw for the seventh time in the seven events in the 2014 FIVB World Tour. Victoria Bieneck/Julia Grossner qualified as the third-seeded qualification team. The pair also qualified in the FIVB World Tour Prague Open and FIVB Shanghai Grand Slam earlier this season.
Based in Lausanne, Switzerland as the international governing body for the Olympic sports of Beach Volleyball and Volleyball, the 2014 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour calendar features a record purse of US$10.2 million with a season that extends from late April to mid-December competing at 21 venues in 18 countries. This year’s FIVB World Tour includes a record 10 FIVB Grand Slam events, the inaugural Grand Slam Finale and 10 FIVB Open Tournaments throughout the world, helping expand the door for development of the sport even further.
The FIVB Grand Slam competitions, all double-gender, have eight with $800,000 in total purses while both The Hague, Netherlands and the Long Beach, Calif., USA event will have $1 million each in prize money, the most in FIVB Grand Slam history.
The 10 FIVB Open tournaments in 2014, seven double-gender, two men only and one women only, will have $150,000 total purses for the double gender events and $75,000 for the single-gender competitions.
As part of the initiatives of FIVB President Dr Ary S. Graça F° and his leadership team, the 2014 FIVB Beach Volleyball international calendar also includes a record four age-group FIVB World Championships along with the 2014 Nanjing (China) Youth Olympic Games (Aug. 17-27). The FIVB Beach Volleyball U17 World Championships (Acapulco, Mexico, July 15-20) will debut this year while the FIVB U23 World Championships (Myslowice, Poland, June 10-15) debuted in 2013. This year will mark the 14th annual FIVB U21 World Championships (Larnaka, Cyprus, July 23-27) and the 13th annual FIVB U19 World Championships (Porto, Portugal, July 29-Aug. 3).
The 2014 FIVB age groups world championships got started in Poland with Poland’s Maciej Kosiak/Maciej Rudol winning the men’s gold medal for the home country and Australia’s Mariafe Artacho/Nicole Laird capturing the women’s gold medal.