Moscow, Russia, May 29, 2016 - Will there be another Brazilian sweep of men’s and women’s gold medals at a FIVB World Tour event when both genders play at the same international stop together, or can pairs from The Netherlands and the United States stop the South Americans here Sunday at the UIS$800,000 Moscow Grand Slam?
With the FIVB World Tour concluding its ninth-straight visit to the Russian capital Sunday and the 11th-time overall, the women’s finale will be played first featuring second-seeded and defending Moscow Grand Slam champions Talita Antunes and Larissa Franca of Brazil and third-seeded and 2014 Moscow winners April Ross and Kerri Walsh Jennings of the United States.
The men’s finale will be a rematch of contestants from the gold medal match at the 2015 FIVB World Championships at The Hague when top-seeded Alison Cerutti and Bruno Oscar Schmidt meet fifth-seeded Reinder Nummerdor and Christiaan Varenhorst of The Netherlands.
55 GOLDEN SWEEPS
Since the start of international Beach Volleyball competition in 1987 for men and 1992 for women, Brazil has been the dominate country on the FIVB World Tour and has won both the men’s and women’s gold medal at the same event 55 times with only three other counties (United States 12 times, and China and Russia once each) accomplishing the feat a combined 14 times. Alison/Bruno and Talita/Larissa have won FIVB World Tour gold medals at the same event six times, including once this season on March 20 on home sand in Vitoria, Brazil.
With the Moscow Grand Slam being the 344th FIVB World Tour event for men and 305th for women, Brazilian men and women have combined for 334 gold medals and 844 podium placements. The Alison/Bruno partnership has earned eight of the gold medals and Talita/Larissa 12. Five of the Brazilian gold medals have been won in Moscow, including men’s titles in 1998, 2011 and 2012. Larissa has two gold medals in Moscow, including a 2009 crown with Juliana Felisberta and last year with Talita.
Individually, Larissa is the women’s all-time leader with FIVB tournament titles with 58 gold medals with three different partners. Talita ranks seventh on the gold medal list with 30 titles with three different partners. Alison has 19 FIVB World Tour gold medals with four different partners while Bruno has 10 first-place finishes with two different partners.
93RD GOLD MEDAL MEETING
Sunday’s women’s finale will be 93rd meeting between Brazil and the United States for a gold medal. Brazil has won 50 of the 92 previous title meetings with the Americans, including a 2-0 (22-20, 21-19) gold medal victory in 39 minutes over Sunday’s opponent Ross and Walsh Jennings at this past March’s FIVB World Tour stop in Vitoria, Brazil. The two teams also met for gold last August in the United States with the Brazilians also winning in two sets at the ASICS World Series of Beach Volleyball in Long Beach.
In the men’s finale, Brazil and The Netherlands will be playing for the 11th-time for a FIVB World Tour gold medal with the South Americans leading 6-4. The last title meeting between the two countries was a memorable as Alison and Bruno scored a 2-1 (12-21, 21-14, 22-20) win over Sunday’s opponent Nummerdor and Varenhorst at the 2015 FIVB World Championships on July 5 at The Hague.
When play opens Sunday at the Vodny Stadium Beach Sports Centre, the men’s and women’s bronze medal matches will be contested. Second-seeded Jake Gibb and Casey Patterson of the United States will play 17th-seeded Piotr Kantor and Bartosz Losiak of Poland in the men’s third-place match. Fifth-seeded Heather Bansley and Sarah Pavan of Canada duel with sixth-seeded Juliana Felisberta and Taiana Lima for the women’s bronze medal.
After eight-straight weeks of FIVB World Tour play in Qatar, China, Brazil, Russia, Turkey and the United States, the international circuit will take a week off before resuming play June 7-12 in Hamburg, Germany for the first of five SWATCH Major Series events.
HAMBURG MAJOR NEXT
The $800,000 Hamburg Major will be the last FIVB World Tour qualifying event for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games as the process started in April 2015 with events in China. With 24 teams competing in each gender’s Beach Volleyball competition at the Rio Summer Games, the top 15 pairs, excluding Brazilians with a maximum of two teams per country, will qualify for the Copacabana quadrennial from the FIVB World Tour.
Brazil earned its two Olympic spots per gender by winning the 2015 men’s (Alison/Bruno) and women’s (Agatha Bednarczuk/Barbara Seixas) FIVB World Championships along with host nation berths (Evandro Goncalves/Pedro Solberg and Talita/Larissa). The seven remaining berths for the Rio Olympics will be determined via the Continental Cup format.