Beach Volleyball Men 360°
Day 15 I Mol&Sorum: The Journey to the Olympic Gold
In the past 15 days, we have been “breathing” Beach Volleyball, following our European teams that gave us so many reasons to relish the Game!
The culmination happened this Saturday. Waking up early today, to see how two European teams enter a battle for the Olympic Gold in Beach Volleyball, was an emotion that we enjoyed to the fullest!
Thank you, team Mol/Sorum (NOR) and team Krasilnikov/Stoyanovskiy (ROC)!
The Beachvolley Vikings wrote history, bringing home the first ever medal on sand. Moreover, it is not Silver or Bronze, it is Gold. We can only imagine how the new Olympic champions are feeling, and we are sure that Tokyo2020 will remain as one of their greatest memories.
Mol (24) and Sorum (25) had a long journey to the medals.
“It has been a long journey, and our parents and families are very proud of us right now,” happy Anders Mol said right after claiming the Olympic title. Asked about his mother’s decision to retire after competing in Beach Volleyball at Atlanta 1996, he then added: “I have always dreamed of beating my mum, metaphorically, at the Olympics. She got a ninth (place), so I was actually really happy when we made it to the quarterfinals because we became historical by achieving (at least) a fifth place.”
We could then tell that at least Mol’s journey to the Olympic Gold has started long before he was even born, can't’ we?
It might be true, but the actual journey of team Mol/Sorum towards achieving the ultimate goal at Tokyo 2020, started on July 24, when they crossed paths with the Aussies McHugh and Schumann. Although they recorded a 2-1 win (21-18, 18-21, 15-13), the Norwegians didn’t start as powerful as it was expected.
Two days later, they met on the court the Spanish veterans Pablo Herrera/Adrian Gavira. The Vikings delivered a second win, this time around at 2-0 (21-17, 24-22), but still struggled to reach their highest potential.
In their third match in Pool A, on July 28, Mol and Sorum suffered what later became their only loss at Tokyo 2020. The ROC’s representatives, Ilya Leshukov and Konstantin Semenov dominated on the court in the direct clash for the first place in the group, to eventually claim a 2-0 victory (21-19, 21-19).
This loss became a turning point in the Norwegian team’s performance. Finishing second in Pool A, Mol and Sorum then speeded up, and even said to Volleyball World: “It seems like we are back!”. Truth has been spoken, as the whole Beach Volleyball world would later see.
After three rest days, on August 1, Mol and Sorum were back on the courts at Shiokaze Park, where they defeated at 2-0 (21-17, 21-19) the Bronze medalists from Rio 2016, Alexander Brouwer and Robert Meeuwsen (NED) in the Round of 16.
In the quarterfinals, on August 4, Mol and Sorum met again Leshukov and Semenov, taking a sweet revenge for the pool loss. The Norwegians didn’t leave any chances to their opponents, winning at 2-0 (21-17, 21-19).
On the very next day, the Vikings secured their spot at the Grand Finale, winning in two sets (21-15, 21-16) the semifinals against the much experienced Latvians Martins Plavins and Edgars Tocs.
And the rest is history, as they say!
The date “August 7” will be remembered as reaching the final destination in the “long Olympics journey”, but we are sure that many more Norwegian victories are on the way.
While we say “Stand up for the champions!”, we remind you that the ultimate European Beach Volleyball party is just around the corner. From August 11 to 15, the biggest stars (including the newly crowned Olympic champions and reigning EuroBeachVolley champs) will enter the courts in Vienna to fight for the European title.
To all of you who have been reading us in the past two weeks, “Thank you!”.
Day 14 I Almost there! What to Expect from the Final Olympic Day?
Wow! Just Wow! We are almost at the finish line of the Men’s Beach Volleyball tournament at the Olympics. It was an amazing journey so far, and the cherry on the top is that two European teams will fight tomorrow for the Gold medal!
The Norwegian Beachvolley Vikings, and No.2 ranked team in the world, Anders Mol and Christian Sorum will lock horns with the reigning world champions Viacheslav Krasilnikov and Oleg Stoyanovskiy (ROC). What is truly remarkable, is that both these nations haven’t had a medal in Beach Volleyball, so whatever the outcome from tomorrow’s final, Mol/Sorum and Krasilnikov/Stoyanovskiy have already written a brand-new page in their countries’ history.
Bonus points for the European Beach Volleyball fans: the Latvians Martins Plavins and Edgars Tocs will play in the Bronze medal match. On Saturday, they will meet the No.1 ranked team, Cherif/Ahmed (QAT).
So, let’s send all our positive vibes and energy to these European teams! We are already so very much proud of them!
What to expect on August 7
Gold Medal Match
Throughout their careers, Mol/Sorum and Krasilnikov/Stoyanovskiy have met on the courts as many as six times. The Norwegians have three victories and so do the Russians, so we do expect an epic final match. Overall, the teams have been always following each other, exchanging victories and losses.
Both sides have first locked horns in 2019.
On January 5, Krasilnikov and Stoyanovskiy disappointed Mol/Sorum at 2-0 (21-12, 21-13) in the World Tour 4 Star in The Hague.
Later this year, on June 2, the Norwegians got back at the Russians, winning at 2-0 (21-17, 21-15) at the World Tour 4 Star in Ostrava.
Just 14 days later, Mol and Sorum recorded another victory, this time at the World Tour 4 Star in Warsaw. It was a cat-and-mouse match, won by the Norwegians at 2-1 (25-23, 19-21, 23-21).
In their last encounter in 2019, on September 7, the Russians seized an important win at the World Tour Finals in Rome. It was again a hard-fought match, and all the Beach Volleyball fans around were enjoying the spectacle. Krasilnikov/Stoyanovskiy surpassed Mol/Sorum at 2-1 (18-21, 21-18, 15-9). The Russians would later become winners of the competition.
More than an year later, the Norwegians got a sweet revenge, defeating Krasilnikov/Styoanovskiy in the final of EuroBeachVolley in Jurmala. On September 20, 2020, Mol and Sorum seized a 2-0 win (21-19, 21-15).
In their only matchup so far in 2021, the reigning world champions from ROC could seize a 2-0 win (21-16, 21-19) over their Norwegian rivals on July 9, playing World Tour 4 Star in Gstaad.
As you can see, Mol/Sorum and Krasilnikov/Stoyanovskiy have been breathing down each other's necks. The stakes are high at tomorrow’s Olympic final, and we are looking forward to what both sides will deliver.
Bronze Medal Match
Plavins/Tocs (LAT) and Cherif/Ahmed (QAT) have met on the courts as many as three times throughout their careers. The Qataris are one step ahead in the current records, having two victories out of three matches. What better time for the Latvians to get back at their opponents than beating them in the Bronze medal match? We believe they can do it!
Both sides have taken on each other two times in 2018, and once in 2019, which means that they haven’t played each other for more than two years. Many things change for such a long period of time, team adapt their strategies, so let’s see what the Latvians and the Qataris have in store for us.
On June 28, 2018 Cherif and Ahmed outclassed Plavins and Tocs at the World Tour in Warsaw, winning at 2-0 (24-22, 24-22). Looking at the score, you could tell there was a real battle going on.
Just some days later, on July 12, at the World Tour in Gstaad, Plavins and Tocs got back on track, claiming a 2-1 win (21-17, 19- 21, 15-11).
Exactly one year later (July 12, 2019) and at the exact same tournament (the World Tour in Gstaad), Cherif and Ahmed returned the favour, winning at 2-0 (26-24, 21-19). As in their first encounter, the battle was marked by a point-for-point race, so we have our hopes high that this time around, if there is such “chasing in the score” Plavins/Tocs will find the right way to score these important points.
Wishing good luck to our European teams and may the best ones win!
Day 13 I To those who left the competition: Thank you for the emotion!
With the final day of the Olympics approaching, we are starting to feel the blues. We have enjoyed each match that our European teams delivered, we have been “breathing” the Games, supporting from a distance, and trying to share the emotion with you as well.
And as the tension grows higher, and we are getting more and more curious about who will claim the Olympic title, today we want to give some attention to the teams that already left the competition.
They fought hard and, as true Olympians, appreciated the moments of being part of the “Ultimate Sports Party”. What were the “farewell” words of some of them?
The Czech Ondrej Perusic/David Schweiner had a trouble start at the Olympics, missing their first match against the Latvians Martins Plavins/Edgars Tocs due to Covid-19 quarantine, and although they came back, they couldn’t make it out of the pool. Here is what Schweiner shared on his Instagram:
The Vice World champions Julius Thole and Clemens Wickler (GER) lost to Krasilnikov/Stoyanovskiy (ROC) in the quarterfinals. FInishing on the fifth place in their Olympic debut, Thole and Wickler wrote that unfortunately, they couldn’t break the spell against the Russians.
“It was wonderful”, the silver medalist from Rio 2016 Paolo Nicolai (ITA) wrote.
A short message, but sometimes words can’t express all that we have in our hearts, can they?
Nicolai and his partner Daniele Lupo lost at 0-2 to the Qataris Cherif/Ahmed in the quarterfinals.
Rio 2016 bronze medallists, Alexander Brouwer and Robert Meeuwsen (NED) also finished their Olympic journey without making it to the semis. They lost to Mol/Sorum in the Round of 16.
Another team suffered a defeat from Mol/Sorum, a defeat that costed them the ticket to the semis. Ilya Leshukov and Konstantin Semenov (ROC) couldn’t repeat their success from the pool stage over the Norwegians.
"Unfortunately, this is where we stop. Thanks to everyone who supported us. Now, time for preparations for EuroBeachVolley."
The Spanish veterans, Pablo Herrera and Adrian Gavira couldn’t find a way to stop the reigning world champions, Viacheslav Krasilnikov and Oleg Stoyanovskiy (ROC) and lost to them in the Round of 16.
“We did not want to write this but our Olympic journey ends by losing in a good match against the Russians, finishing in ninth position in these Olympic Games. Sad to finish here after the level shown throughout the tournament, we are ambitious and we wanted much more but the sport is like that.”
They also expressed their gratitude to their head coach Fran Marco.
In their Olympic debut, the Swiss Adrian Heidrich and Mirco Gerson, winners of the #CEVContinentalCup final, couldn’t show their game and left the competition losing a Lucky loser match to the Chileans Marco and Esteban Grimalt.
The Olympics have ended for these teams, but we are sure they have a lot more to give to the world of Beach Volleyball in the next months and years to come.
Day 12 I The Semifinallists: Head to Head
What an a-m-a-z-i-n-g day we had at the Men’s Beach Volleyball tournament at Tokyo 2020! We would have loved that the Olympics semis were all-European battles, but 3 out of 4 is not that bad, right?
If you have missed the news, Mol/Sorum (NOR), Plavins/Tocs (LAT), Krasilnikov/Stoyanovskiy (ROC) are the three European teams in the semifinals of the Olympic Games. The fourth one, is the No.1 ranked team, Cherif/Ahmed (QAT).
We are extremely happy and proud of what these European athletes have achieved so far! And we join forces with their fans, to extend our huge thanks for all the nice emotions. Now, we can just sit back and enjoy the semifinals show that, we are sure, the Norwegians, the Latvians and the Russian Olympic Committee’s representatives will deliver. Of course, we do hope that the Gold medal will be won by an European team (the first and last one, for now, was won by Germany’s Julius Brink and Jonas Reckermann in London 2012).
Before delving into what comes next in the semifinals, let’s not forget mentioning the great Italian duo, Paolo Nicolai and Daniele Lupo. The silver medallists from Rio 2016, lost to the Qataris Cherif/Ahmed in their quarterfinal match, but they fought hard until the last referee whistle. Hats down! We hope to see them again in Paris 2024!
Mol/Sorum (NOR) vs Plavins/Tocs (LAT)
The Beachvolley Vikings, Anders Mol and Christian Sorum (who are currently ranked number 2 in the world) will lock horns with the much more experienced Martins Plavins and Edgars Tocs in the first semifinal match on August 5. Starting time is 14:00 CEST, so make sure not to miss it!
Some years ago, the Latvian duo had invited the Norwegians to train together. Talking to journalists today after the win over Alison and Alvaro Filho (BRA), Martins Plavins, London 2012 Bronze medallist, said, laughing:
“Yeah, inviting them to train with some years ago was our mistake, for sure. A huge mistake! You see what happened? They rock&roll. Crazy.”
Plavins then added:
Martins Plavins (LAT)
“No, they’re great guys. They are athletes that improved a lot in the last year. They are young, everybody likes them. I don’t want to admit it, but also I like them,” finished his comment, laughing again.
Head to head
Mol/Sorum and Plavins/Tocs have met each other five times (three times in the World Tour, once in EuroBeachVolley and once in the Worlds).
July 11, 2018 - World Tour, Gstaad, won by Mol/Sorum at 2-1 (21-17, 17-21, 15-13)
August 16, 2018 - World Tour, Hamburg, won by Mol/Sorum at 2-1 (18-21, 21-19, 15-12)
October 19, 2018 - World Tour, Las Vegas, won by Mol/Sorum at 2-0 (21-18, 21-14)
July 5, 2019 - World Championship in Hamburg, won by Mol/Sorum at 2-0 (22-20, 21-17)
August 8, 2019 - Both sides were set to play at EuroBeachVolley, but due to injury by team Plavins/Tocs, the match didn’t take place, and Mol/Sorum claimed an opponents’ DNS win 2-0 (0-0, 0-0)
As you can tell, things don’t seem that bright for the Latvians, who, across four (played) matches, could take only two sets from the Norwegians. However, at the Olympics experience matters a lot, and Plavins/Tocs might disappoint Mol/Sorum for a very first time.
Cherif/Ahmed (QAT) vs Krasilnikov/Stoyanovskiy (ROC)
A final before the final! This is how we can call the semifinal battle between Cherif/Ahmed and Krasilnikov/Stoyanovskiy (ROC). The No.1 team in the world (as per the updated FIVB ranking), the Qataris will lock horns with the reigning World champions. We already know it will be a battle “all or nothing”! To be fair, we expect great rallies and many Beach Volleyball emotions. Don’t forget to follow the game that starts at 15:00 CEST (right after the end of the first semifinal).
Head to head
Cherif/Ahmed and Krasilnikov/Stoyanovskiy have also met five times.
March 14, 2019 - World Tour, Doha, match won by Cherif/Ahmed at 2-1 (12-21, 21-18, 15-8)
June 15, 2019 - World Tour, Warsaw, match won by Krasilnikov/Stoyanovskiy at 2-0 (22-20, 21-19)
September 5, 2019 - World Tour Finals in Rome, match won by Krasilnikov/Stoyanovskiy at 2-0 (21-17, 21-14)
April 18, 2021 - World Tour, Cancun hub, match won by Cherif/Ahmed at 2-1 (21-12, 19-21, 15-10)
July 10, 2021 - World Tour, Gstaad, match won by Cherif Ahmed at 2-0 (21-17, 21-17)
In comparison to the first semifinal pair, we can tell that here things seem to be pretty much balanced. The European team has two victories, one less than the Qataris, but what better time to equal the score than the Olympics semis? However, we must mention that the last victory by Krasilnikov/Stoyanovskiy over this opponent was back in 2019. In 2021, they have been struggling to find their game against Cherif/Ahmed.
Fingers crossed tomorrow is the day!
Who do you believe will reach the Golden medal match? You can respond to this question by tagging us in your Instagram stories, using a photo of your favourites!
Day 11 I Quarterfinallists On Fire: What They Said
Can you believe it’s already the quarterfinals stage? The excitement among fans (and also among our team) is growing. Moreover, we have as many as six (!) European teams in the Top 8 of the World!
We are extremely happy and proud of how Leshukov/Semenov (ROC), Mol/Sorum (NOR), Plavins/Tocs (LAT), Thole/Wickler (GER), Krasilnikov/Stoyanovskiy (ROC) and Nicolai/Lupo (ITA) have performed so far in the competition. That many European teams mean that at least two European sides will be in the semifinal, and Europe’s representatives have at least one medal guaranteed. Way to go!
August 4 (all times are in CEST)
02:00 Leshukov/Semenov (ROC) vs Mol/Sorum (NOR)
03:00 Plavins/Tocs (LAT) vs Alison/Alvaro Filho (BRA)
14:00 Thole/Wickler (GER) vs Krasilnikov/Stoyanovskiy (ROC)
15:00 Cherif/Ahmed (QAT) vs Nicolai/Lupo (ITA)
Аs you can tell, there will be plenty of amazing battles on the courts of Shiokaze Park, and we are already looking forward to them!
Let’s check together what the main European heroes have shared in the previous days!
Leshukov/ Semenov (ROC) and Mol/Sorum (NOR) will be a re-match of the encounter from the pool stage. ROC’s representatives won at 2-0.
“Our next game is with the Norwegians. It will be another big battle, but we’re ready for it,” Iliya Leshukov said.
“I'm really happy to go into the quarterfinals. Now everything can happen, and we're super excited to play and give our best," Anders Mol commented.
Latvia’s Martins Plavins was emotional after the 2-0 win over the Brazilians Evandro/Schmidt in the Round of 16.
“The moment when you win, but you do not realise that a tear will fall immediately… ❤️,” Plavins wrote on his Instagram.
In the quarterfinals, Plavins/Tocs will have to overcome another Brazilian duo, Alison/Alvaro Filho, and we will have our fingers crossed.
The reigning world champions, Viacheslav Krasilnikov and Oleg Stoyanovskiy (ROC) will lock horns with the vice world champions, Julius Tholes and Clemens Wickler (GER). A re-match of the 2019 Worlds final.
“Everything worked out good in the match against Herrera/Gaviraa, we are very happy to reach the quarterfinals. Thanks to all loved ones, family and fans for the incredible support they send us in Tokyo. 💜💜💜” Krasilnikov wrote on his Instagram.
Meanwhile, Julius Thole sent a special message to the younger players who are just taking up on the sport.
Julius Thole (GER)
"I'd say that beach volleyball is an amazing sport! Just go on the court, hit the beach and play some ball. I think it's a long way to come here to the Olympics, but the feeling is amazing, so it is totally worth it!”
Rio 2016 Silver medallists, Paolo Nicolai and Daniele Lupo (ITA) were perfect in their Tokyo 2020 journey so far.
"I'm very happy. We are playing really well, although we are only in the quarterfinals now. We'll enjoy the moment, but everything is still to happen and to be decided,” Lupo said.
Who are your favourites for tomorrow’s quarters? Let us know, send us a message on our social media channels!
Day 10 I Win Enrico Rossi’s Olympic T-shirt
The Italian duo, Adrian Carambula/Enrico Rossi couldn’t make it to the Round of 16 of the Men’s Beach Volleyball tournament. However, both had enjoyed their time at Tokyo 2020 to the fullest - always with a smile and treating all with respect, Carambula and Rossi made a good impression (as per usual, we would add).
Despite the fact that they are no longer competing on the courts of Shiokaze Park, they still have “Olympics fever”. And this is especially true when it comes to Enrico Rossi, who is organising a special contest for his fans. The lucky winner will win his Olympics T-shirt. This is not an award that you would wanna miss, so we’d better give the floor to Rossi himself.
Enrico Rossi (ITA)
“I came up with the idea of the contest after our first match at Tokyo 2020, against Gibb and Bourne from the USA. Many people reached out to me, they wished us the best of luck. They also asked if they could buy our T-shirts. Unfortunately, this is not possible, since these T-shirts are exclusive to the athletes. I decided to start a giveaway for all those who were following and cheering from home. I think it's another nice way to include in the event all the people who supported us.”
If you want to participate in the giveaway, you just need to follow some pretty easy “rules”.
The giveaway will end together with the Olympics (Sunday, August 8), and after that there will be a special draw held to decide who the winner is. After that, Enrico will send the T-shirt to the winner, who will have to make sure to post a photo of themself (on the newsfeed or Instagram story). Don’t forget to tag Rossi, so he can see the happiness of the winner, too!
Enrico Rossi (ITA)
“I will sign the T-shirt, it will have my autograph, and I hope it will have a special meaning to the winner. Actually, I already have received some very kind messages, such as: <<I will go with your T-shirt on my first officail tournament”>> or <<I will be able to jump 1 meter high with that T-shirt!”. They even told me that if they win, they would start playing Beach Volleyball. This makes me really happy!”
Rossi and Carambula might have left the Olympics sooner than expected, and have some regrets, but still, Enrico likes to see the “glass half full”.
Enrico Rossi (ITA)
“We are sad because we couldn’t show our best game in Tokyo. Our style of play and Adrian's skyball has led us to some very good results, and surely we would have liked to go further at the Olympics, too. We had faced many difficulties in the past two and a half years, so I am proud that we could accomplish our dream of coming here; it was our personal effort! We missed our coach, and our staff at Tokyo, but overall, being here is something wonderful.”
Looking forward to the CEV #EuroBeachVolley
Vienna will be the place to be in August, where from the 11th to the 15th the CEV EuroBeachVolley will take place. Carambula and Rossi will enter the courts in the Austrian capital to fight for the European title. Enrico is excited about what comes next.
"Now, we will return to Italy, and we will hug our team, our staff. And, of course, we will try to prepare better. We are in a difficult pool, but we like the difficulties, and we are sure that we will be able to deliver a “Beach Volleyball Spectacle” at such an important event", Rоssi said to CEV.
Day 9 I The Volleyball Idols: Young generations vs the Veterans
The Olympics are a dream come true for every athlete.
The Olympics are the place (metaphorically as well) where different people are united, forgetting about their differences.
The Olympics are the place where an athlete can show what they are capable of.
And at the Olympics, what matters most, is how you perform. No matter how old are you.
However, this Sunday, we wanted to present you the Top 3 Youngest and The Top 3 Oldest Male athletes that are competing at the Men’s Beach Volleyball Tournament in Tokyo 2020.
Top 3 Youngest European Athletes
Anders Mol (NOR), born on July 2, 1997
Surprise, surprise! If you thought there would be a Top List and the Norwegian star, Anders Mol, wouldn’t be a part of it, you were wrong!
Mol learned to play beach volleyball as a teenager. Since end of 2016, Mol plays together with Christian Sorum. Their list of achievements together is really long, so instead, we want to share a curious fact with you.
Did you know? Mol also played 2016 indoors in the Norwegian U20 national team as an outside attacker. In the 2016/ 17 season he became Belgian vice champion and also played in the Champions League
Julius Thole (GER), born on May 17, 1997
“I never expected to be at the level I am at, at this age. A vice world champion, playing with Clemens at such a high level and surrounded by such a great team," said Julius Thole, Vice World Champion to Volleyball World last year.
He was introduced to the sport by a family member, but there is a special coach who inspired him to go on professional level and take up the sport seriously.
Did you know? Julius is studying law in Hamburg whilst pursuing an Olympic gold medal.
Oleg Stoyanovskiy (ROC), born on September 26, 1996
Oleg Stoyanovskiy is the youngest (and reigning) men's FIVB world champion at 22 years, 9 months, and 11 days. Not a bad accomplishment, we would add. At 2.07m, Stoyanovskiy says that he and his “partner in crime”, Viacheslav Krasilinkov are still a young team, and have a lot of room for improvement, respectively, an even higher level to reach.
Did you know? Stoyanovskiy and Krasilnikov were competing in their first World Championship, when they claimed the trophy.
Top 3 Oldest European Athletes
Pablo Herrera (ESP), born on June 29, 1982
The name “Pablo Herrera” might as well become a synonym of a Beach Volleyball Legend in the next dictionaries, who knows? The Spanish has been for so long on the courts that it is difficult to imagine a Beach Volleyball world where Herrera doesn’t compete. And while we hope for this moment to be as far away in the future as possible, Herrera is writing a brand-new page in his personal history. Tokyo is the fifth Olympics of Pablo! Hats down!
Did you know? In Athens 2004, Pablo played with Javier Bosma, and both won the silver medalls.
Martins Plavins (LAT), born on May 8, 1985
Back to 2004, Plavins used to play with another Latvian Beach Volleyball legend, Aleksandr Samoilovs. Both played at Beijing 2008, but then stopped playing together.
Plavins then teamed up with Janis Smedins. Both delivered some very good results, i.e. winning the bronze medal at the 2010 European Beach Volleyball Championship.
Did you know? Plavins and Smedins also have Olympic bronze medals to their names. In London 2012, they beat Nummerdor and Schuil of the Netherlands in the bronze medal match.
Adrian Gavira (ESP), born on September 17, 1987
Adrian “Adri” fell in love with Volleyball in 2001. He started practicing it in the local sports school, and from that moment on, his life changed forever.
Gavira likes the good cinema, reading and video games. Always with a suitcase nearby, Adrian lives ready to take a new trip and further explore Beach Volleyball.
Did you know? Before starting practicing Volleyball, Gavira tried several other sports. Football, basketball, tennis, taekwondo among others.
Day 8 I The Beach Volleyball Fairytale: How Did It All Begin?
Can you believe it’s been a week since the Olympics started, and we heard the first referee whistle at Shiokaze Park, where the matches of the Men’s Beach Volleyball tournament are taking place?
We have only one week left in the competition, and while getting ready for the decisive phase of the tournament, we decided to take a look back at the history of Beach Volleyball.
We love the sport so much, but how many of us really know the story “behind the scenes”?
Well, let’s discover it together.
When did it all begin?
Beach Volleyball has most likely been invented back in 1915 on Waikiki Beach in Hawaii. A we all know, it is a variant of indoor volleyball (and just to remind you that this second one was invented in 1895 by William G. Morgan).
Beach Volleyball was considered an inexpensive activity, and grew in popularity during the Great Depression. The sport began to appear in Europe around the 1930s, too. The first Beach Volleyball tournaments that have been ever played, took place in the 1940s, on the beaches of Santa Monica. The first ever tournament to offer a prize was held in 1948, in Los Angeles (California). Afterwards, other countries started organising Beach Volleyball tournaments, too. In the 1960s there was an attempt to start a professional league in Santa Monica. Brazil held its first Brazilian Beach Volleyball tournament in the 1950s, and as they say, this is how it all started.
Beach Volleyball at the Olympics
Although growing in popularity in the 20th century, Beach Volleyball has been first welcomed as an Olympic discipline only in 1996, when the Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta took place. We wouldn't be lying if we would say that nowadays, Beach Volleyball is one of the most popular sports as it offers all that athletes and fans might be looking for - joy, real competition, and most of the time, nice and sunny weather.
Back in 1996, around 600 athletes took part in the Olympic Qualifying process, representing 42 countries. The United States' legend, Karch Kiraly and Kent Steffes won the first men's gold medals. Kiraly had previously won two Olympic Games gold medals in indoor Volleyball at the 1984 Los Angeles Games and the Seoul Games in 1988.
Beach Volleyball made quite the impact in Atlanta 1996, so all eyes were on the next Olympics in Sydney 2000. The top 24 men's and women's teams in the world competed on Bondi Beach. USA dominated again in the men’s competition, as Dain Blanton and Eric Fonoimoana won the Gold.
“It’s coming home, it’s coming home!”, is what most probably people were thinking back in 2004 when the Olympics happened in Athens, Greece, the country where the Ancient Olympic Games used to take place centuries ago.
Again, a total of 24 teams (men’s and women’s) participated in the Games. While the Brazilian duo Ricardo and Emanuel won men's Gold, we would like to remind you that the Spanish legend, Pablo Herrera also made it to the podium. Herrera, together with his partner by the time, Javier Bosma, grabbed the silver.
24 women’s and 24 men’s Beach Volleyball teams participated in Beijing 2008. They delivered as many as 108 matches (54 per gender), and the action was taking place in the stunning 12,000-seat Chaoyang Park Beach Volleyball Ground. USA’s Phil Dalhausser, who is also competing at Tokyo 2020, and Todd Rogers were crowned Olympic champions in the men’s Beach Volleyball tournament.
In 2012, an European side won the Olympic gold for a very first time. Germany’s Juilius Brink and Jonas Reckermann outclassed Brazil’s Alison Cerutti and Emanuel Rego at 2-1. They weren’t the only Europeans to have reached the podium. Latvia’s Janis Smedins and Martins Plavins (who is also in Tokyo 2020) beat The Netherlands’ Reinder Nummerdor and Richard Schuil in the bronze medal match.
Which is the best place in the world to play Beach Volleyball? Of course, there are many answers to this question, but for sure, one of the most emblematic locations where to play Beach Volleyball, is the world-famous Copacabana Beach. In Rio 2016, matches were taking place in a purpose-built 12,500-capaity stadium. The Italians Paolo Nicolai and Daniele Lupo lost in the final to the home stars Alison Cerutti and Bruno Schmidt. Alexander Brouwer and Robert Meeuwsen from the Netherlands (who are 2013 world champions as well), took home the bronze medal.
The Question of all questions this year. Who do you believe will reach the ultimate goal and win the Gold medal? We do hope it is an European team!
Day 7 | Week's best moments in photos
For some of the European teams, competing at the Men’s Beach Volleyball tournament at Tokyo 2020, the week was successful (and is not over yet). Others will have to say “Goodbye!” to the Olympics (like the Italians Adrian Carambula/Enrico Rossi, who earlier today lost to the Swiss Adrian Heidrich/Mirco Gerson).
But one thing is for sure! All of the players enjoyed playing on the courts at Shiokaze Court.
We took the time to make a Friday selection with the best photos of the week so far (of course, it’s our personal judgement here, so if you have come across to better pictures, feel free to send us your ideas).
All the photo credit goes to Volleyball World.
Photo of the Day: Monday
Adrian "The Flying" Gavira
As many as four European teams entered the court at Shiokaze Park on Monday, but our pick of the day is from the match between Norwegian Beachvolley Vikings, Anders Mol and Christian Sorum, and the Spanish legends Pablo Herrera/Adrian Gavira. The Spaniards lost 0-2 (17-21, 22-24), but just have a look at what a save Gavira delivered! ¡Muy bien!
Photo of the Day: Tuesday
Julius "Can-Do" Thole
Five European men's teams were fighting on Tuesday, but we had a clear favourite when choosing the Photo of the Day!
It is from the all-European battle between the Vice World Champions Julius Thole and Clemens Wickler (GER) and the Poles Piotr Kantor and Bartosz Losiak. The Germans recorded their first victory at Tokyo 2020, and although it was a team effort, you can tell that this action, captured on the photo, was a One-Man Show. Good job, Julius!
Photo of the Day: Wednesday
Konstantin "Smiley" Semenov
Once again, five European teams were in Olympic battles on Wednesday, but the day was highlighted by the derby we were all looking for! The heavy favourites, Anders Mol and Christian Sorum locked horns with the Russian powerside Iliya Leshukov/Konstantin Semenov. Mol/Sorum suffered first defeat, and looking at the face of Semenov, we can definitely tell the ROC's representatives had enjoyed the match at its fullest. That's the spirit, Konstantin!
Photo of The Day: Thursday
Ondrej "The Recovered" Perusic
Without any doubts, the positive news for the European Beach Volleyball community on Friday, came from the Czech team Ondrej Perusic/David Schweiner. After being quarantined for several days, due to the positive Covid test of Ondrej, the duo came back on the court in their first Tokyo 2020 match, to eventually win over the Mexicans Gaxiola/Rubio.
And that on the left, ladies and gentlemen, is the emotion of a person who is healthy and ready to fight for the win! Keep on rocking, Ondrej!
Photo of the Day: Friday
Daniele "The Skills" Lupo
Friday's pick is the cherry on the top, don't you believe? We had three matches with European participation, but this photo from the encounter between Nicolai/Lupo and the Poles Kantor/Losiak definitely amazed us!
Great job by the photographer, but great job also by Lupo - if you look closely, you can see that this photo can be used to teach Youngsters on the right position of the hands when receiving. Bravo, Daniele!
Do you agree with us? Do you like our choices? Make sure to reach out to us with your suggestions as well! We will be looking forward to hearing from you!
Day 6 | Who’s Behind the Scenes: the Power of Volunteering
Watching Beach Volleyball matches from Tokyo 2020, we cannot help but enjoy the great rallies that the teams are delivering. Our European teams don’t stop amazing us with nice skills and with competition just about to enter its even more interesting phase, we continue on cheering for the 13 teams that are representing our continent at the Olympics.
Most of the European Men’s teams are doing pretty well (yes!), and we can’t wait to see what they have in store for us in their next matches. But while the players are giving their best on the courts at Shiokaze Park, there is one hidden Power that helps them move forward.
Kudos to the Olympic Volunteers
To be fair, among that many spectacular matches, we ourselves have forgotten about the Volunteers of the Olympics. But Enrico Rossi (ITA) hasn’t!
He and his teammate, Adrian Carambula, a.k.a. Mr. Skyball, had a special warm-ups with some Volunteers.
“A special thanks goes again to the Tokyo 2020 Volunteers, who also this evening helped us with the warm-up,” Rossi wrote on an Instagram story in his profile. In the short video, we could see the Volunteers serving, while Rossi and Carambula receiving. Carambula later shared the story, giving credits to the Volunteers as well.
What an emotion!
We can only suppose what a wonderful evening the Volunteers, who helped to the famous Italian Beach Volleyball duo, had. This made us reflect about the crucial role of the Volunteers, and reminded us of what a real feast of sports the Olympics are as well.
We all needed it!
Seeing people from around the world gathering, and celebrating sports, is what we really needed to see after such a difficult time on a global level.
We all needed seeing these professional athletes celebrating sports with all of us. And a special thanks for this “achievement” goes to the Tokyo 2020 volunteers!
The crucial role of the Volunteers
Each Olympics, tens of thousands of volunteers work each day to ensure the event goes as smoothly as possible. In light of the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, things are pretty hard to be organised and this makes the volunteers’ contribution even more special.
A total of 204,680 people applied to be a Tokyo Olympics volunteer, and even though some later withdrew their applications due to the pandemic, there are still many involved. 64% of the applications came from Japanese citizens, while the rest came from people around the globe. This diverse mix of Olympic volunteers is certainly a once-in-a-lifetime experience for all involved.
What do Volunteers do at the Olympics?
Besides of playing Beach Volleyball with the sport’s stars :) , the tasks of the volunteers can vary a lot. They help everyone (officials, experts, judges, translators), and offer crucial support in all part of the operation. Sometimes, they are in charge of checking tickets, welcoming dignitaries, and delivering equipment.
In Beach Volleyball (and Indoor) they have the famous role of “ball retrievers” as well.
Players do appreciate the help of the Volunteers.
Adrian Gavira (ESP)
"Even though there has been a lot of criticism about holding the Olympic Games, we still feel a lot of support from the people. We see a lot of people, volunteers showing their support on our way to the stadium, and it's very touching."
We receive the answer to this question, reading an interview with Ai Ichii, former Volunteer who contributed in Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004. And we believe that there is no better way to explain why volunteering matters and how it impacts people’s lives at the Olympics.
“Volunteers are not compensated monetarily, but that’s exactly the reason why people can come together as a team. You see people from all over the world with different backgrounds, nationalities, ages, and work, putting aside their differences and combining their efforts to make the Games a success. The sense of unity shared by volunteers is truly amazing. It’s an experience like no other.”
Day 5 | Who is the best?
Who’s the best?
With five days of action at Shiokaze Park, we started asking ourselves how our European players are doing statistically so far.
Who is the Best Scorer? Best Attacker? Best Blocker? Best Server?
Let’s find out together!
The Norwegian star, Anders Mol is topping the charts in this category. With 57 attack points, 16 block points and five aces, Mol proved better in the current standings, collecting a total of 78 points.
He is followed by the Aussie player Christopher McHugh who has 68 points to his name (59 attack points, four block points and five serve points).
The Spanish veteran, Pablo Herrera is on third place with 54 points recorded (47 attack points, three block points and four aces).
The Russian Konstantin Semenov is right behind Herrera, with a total of 47 points (27 attack points, 14 block points and six aces).
Mol and McHugh are again in a “battle” for the first position. The European is second, with 57 points and 111 attempts, while the Australian is first with 59 points and 92 attempts.
With 47 attack points to his name and 70 attempts, Herrera has occupied the third place in this category, too.
If you are wondering who is on first place here, well… No need to do so! It is again Anders Mol. With 16 blocks, he is currently topping the charts.
Konstantin Semenov from the Russian Olympic Committee is second-placed with 14 blocks (Watch out, Anders! Konstantin is speeding up!)
The next European player with best results on this component is the Polish Michal Bryl, who is sixth with eight blocks.
Semenov has the leadership position among the European players with six aces (and four errors). Mol is breathing down his neck with five aces (but nine errors). Bartosz Losiak also has aced five times (but with 10 errors to his name, is behind Mol).
There are still many days of play left, so we are all curious to see who will finish as Best Scorer, Best Attacker, Best Blocker and Best Server. As usual, all our positive vibe go to our European teams in Tokyo 2020!
Day 4 | Where Magic Happens
Time flies, doesn’t it? We have wrapped up already Day 4 of the Beach Volleyball tournaments that are taking place at the Summer Olympic Games!
So many exciting moments and games that already happened! And can you imagine what lies ahead? Eightfinals, quarterfinals, semifinals and the much anticipated match for the Olympic medals!
But have you asked yourself, where does this Beach Volleyball magic happen?
We have the answer.
Remember the name: Shiokaze Park
This is the place where all the Beach Volleyball athletes are entering their most important battles; where they win and lose; where they overcome major challenges. Where they create probably the best memories of their lives!
Typhoons can’t stop them!
This is the place where some of the most (or not) unexpected events happen. Like in the early Tuesday morning, when a typhoon hit the court where the match between Gottsu/Shiratori (JPN) and the Rio 2016 silver medallists Nicolai/Lupo (ITA) took place.
However, it didn’t scare the European team, who won at 2-0. And it didn’t scare one of the greatest Italian legends - Andrea Lucchetta. The 1990 MVP of the Men’s Worlds, and Olympian, Lucchetta is nowadays dedicated to a new career path as a sports commentator. His focus is, of course, on the Volleyball game.
At the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, he is following the performance of the Italian Beach Volleyball players, too, analysing the games with the famous journalist Maurizio Colantoni. They are a stellar duo, even when it means surviving a typhoon.
When it’s not raining or windy, Shiokaze Park has a lot to offer.
With nearly 13,000 trees and thousands of other plants, it is the largest park on the Tokyo waterfront area of Odaiba.
It has facilities suited to the seashore and a park and is located to Odaiba Kaihin Park. And from the park, you can gaze upon the beautiful scenery of Tokyo Bay with the Rainbow Bridge in the background.
The park was opened on June 1, 1974 and occupies an area of 154,939.86 square meters. There are 12, 800 tall trees and 27,600 shrubs, and the main vegetation includes coral trees, olive, Japanese black pine, crape myrtle, Quercus myrsinifolia, Machilus thunbergii, gray bottlebrush, Matebashii trees, wax myrtle and Washington palm.
The Beach Volleyball stadium at Shiokaze Park
The Beach Volleyball competition of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 is being held at a 12,000-capacity custom-built temporary stadium in the Japanese capital's magnificent Shiokaze Park. With no audience allowed to attend the matches, the atmosphere is not the same, but the Beach Volleyball emotion is still alive.
Not only during matches, but also during trainings (as we can see from the Instagram of Alexander Brouwer).
There is no better way to wrap up Day 4 with a sunset photo from Shiokaze Park, isn’t it? Thanks to Piotr Kantor (POL) for sharing in his Instagram this splendid photo!
Good night, Tokyo!
Day 3 | What are the Beach Volleyball Giants up to?
New week and a new day at Tokyo 2020! We were more than excited to see how our European teams will perform on Monday in the Men’s Beach Volleyball Competition.
Krasilnikov/Stoyanovskiy, Leshukov/Semenov ROCked the courts at Shiokaza Park, and in the European derby of the day, “The Youngers” against the “The Much Experienced”, the Norwegian Beachvolley Vikings Mol/Sorum outperformed the Spanish players Herrera/Gavira.
Sad news for the Czech Perusic and Schweiner, who had to forfeit against Latvia’s Martins Plavins/Edgar Tocs due to the positive Covid-19 test result by Perusic.
Let’s delve into more detail, and find out how the players in today’s spotlight are doing.
A star reporter
Did you know that Viacheslav Krasilnikov (yes, yes, we are talking about the World Champion) has a new hobby? Krasilnikov, who competed at the 2016 Summer Olympics with Konstantin Semenov, where they finished fourth), is the star reporter of the Russian First Channel. He is doing vlogs, and in case you speak Russian, you can check what he shares here.
We are looking forward to seeing Krasilinkov interviewing his teammate, Oleg Stoyanovskiy.
A piece of advice to Viacheslav: Don't forget to ask him about the feeling of becoming the youngest World champion, with 22 years, 9 months, and 11 days (Krasilnikov and Stoyanovskiy did so back in 2019, when they defeated the Germans Thole/Wickler at the Worlds Final).
Love is in the air
Iliya Leshukov and Konstantin Semenov ROCked in Pool A, securing their ticket to the eight finals. Playing together since 2018, both have great hopes for a medal. But while training and preparing at the courts of Shiokaza Park, Konstantin found the time to send a special message to his beloved wife, who celebrated her birthday last Saturday, at the start of the Men’s Beach Volleyball competition.
“Today is a very important day, we are starting the Olympic Games in Tokyo. But to me, it has a double importance, since my love celebrates a birthday. I congratulate you, my dear, and I wish you all the best that this life has to offer. Enjoy every day, catch the moment, dance, and enjoy. I love you very much, and I am happy to have met you on my way.”
Will the Perusic's dream of playing at the Olympics come true?
Perusic and Schweiner are a well-known team in the Beach Volleyball world. The Czech are very active on the social media and always try to keep in touch with their fans. Unfortunately, their Olympic journey did not start in the best way possible, given the positive result for Covid-19 that Perusic gave.
It is a sad situation for Perusic, who has Volleyball running through his veins. His grandfather, Boris Perusic, is a silver medallist from Tokyo 1964 (when Volleyball debuted at the Games). Talking to FIVB earlier this year, Ondrej emphasized on the personal importance of the Olympics.
“When my grandfather gave me his Olympic medal for my 18th birthday, to be honest, at the time I wasn’t sure if it meant ‘go for it’ or something like ‘OK, here’s my medal and you try to focus on your studies’. He was cheering for us the whole qualification period and was really happy that he and I will share the Tokyo Olympics experience.”
We definitely wish team Perusic/Schweiner to be able to compete, and to feel the sand at Shiokaza park courts.
How well do they know each other?
Anders Mol and Christian Sorum have been dominating the beach volleyball courts in the past years. On Monday, they snatched a ticket to the Olympics eightfinals, winning 2-0 over the Spanish Herrera/Gavira.
All who have ever heard the expression “beach volleyball”, have also heard the names of the Norwegian duo Anders Mol and Christian Sorum. Still so young (Anders is born in 1997, and Chrirstian in 1995), they have accomplished what many teams are aiming at for a lifetime.
What is their secret? How well do they know each other? Check this video of Christian, responding about Anders.
Last but not least, we had our reflections on what “brotherhood” in Beach Volleyball means. And we couldn’t think of a better example than the Spanish Pablo Herrera and Adrian Gavira. They have two losses at the Olympics so far, but we are sure, they can get back on their feet.
They have been playing together for so long, that we barely remember the pre-Herrera/Gavira era, but there certainly was one. Pablo and Adrian teamed up back in 2009, and they changed our understanding of brotherhood on the field. Winning or losing, they support each other like brothers.
“From the first year we played together we knew that there was a good connection between us. We are two very competitive players. Adrian is always fighting every ball and pulling the team,” Pablo Herrera told Volleyball World.
We leave you with that message! Let's see what Day 4 will bring us!
Day 2 | How well do you know these European teams?
Here we go again!
Day 2 of the Men’s tournament at the Beach Volleyball competition featured as many as six European teams fighting on the Olympic stage at Shiokaze park in Tokyo.
While we were watching our Polish teams dominating (check out our daily recap here), we were wondering, how well do you know these six European teams?
Well, if you have your doubts, we guess it’s high time we started with the presentations.
Julius Thole & Clemens Wickler (Germany)
Julius and Clemens are Vice Wold Champions, Junior World Champions and junior European champions.
Julius is the taller (2.06 m) and the younger (1997). Clemens was born in 1995 and is 1.91 m tall. Besides of being top beach volleyball players, both of them are students. Julius is discovering the law science in the depths, while Clemens is dedicated to the student business administration.
“Without diligence there is no price”, is Julius’ motto. Clemens has another one: “Winners never quit, quitters never win."
Adrian Carambula & Enrico Rossi (Italy)
Not many are the players whose names are associated with a specific drill, but this is the case of Adrian Ignacio Carambula Raurich (1988). Rio 2016 Olympian, he is known as "Mr Skyball" for his unique serving style, in which he hits the ball high. Carambula was born in Uruguay, and has played football alongside Luis Suárez as a boy, until his family moved to Florida when he was a teenager. He represents Italy thanks to his grandparent being an Italian.
Rossi (1993) has grown up on the beach, at Italy’s east coast. Born in Cesenatico, he teamed up with Carambula since the start of 2019. They played together for a first time at the 2019 Sydney 3-star, where they won silver.
Paolo Nicolai & Daniele Lupo (Italy)
Paolo was born in 1988 and comes from the Italian city of Ortona. Daniele has turned 30 on May 6, and is a native from Rome. Together, they were one of the most followed Italian teams in Rio 2016, where they won the silver medals, and wrote a brand-new page in the history of Italian Beach Volleyball. Outside the court, both had overcome serious problems (some years ago, Daniele had a serious illness; while Paolo had to recover from a knee surgery). Paolo Nicolai has recently become a father and has the most important fan cheering up for him at home.
Piotr Kantor & Bartosz Losiak (Poland)
Piotr Kantor (1992) and Bartosz Losiak were the unexpected stars at 2016 Rio. Many called them “the Polish wunderkinds” who changed the Beach Volleyball landscape.
Recently, Kantor and Losiak defeated the Qataris Ahmed Tijan and Cherif Younousse, winning the FIVB World Tour in Sochi, claiming their first medal of any color since 2018
Grzegorz Fijalek & Michal Bryl (Poland)
The Polish pair had made the breakthrough to the top of the winners’ podium when they claimed gold at the Doha 4-Star in March 2020. However, in light of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, they had to put on hold their bigger dreams. During the lockdown Bryl (1994), played on the Polish Tour with Mikolaj Miszczuk, while Fijalek (1987) used the break to undergo shoulder surgery.
They have been playing together since the start of 2017 and competed together for the first time at the Fort Lauderdale 4-Star, where they reached the quarterfinals.
Just some weeks ago, Heidrich and Gerson were in the spotlight of the European Beach Volleyball scene, when together with the other Swiss team (Marco Krattiger/Florian Breer) competing at the Final of the CEV Continental Cup, grabbed the last available ticket to Tokyo2020.
Adrian (1994) is 2.04 m tall, and you can see him usually playing at the block. Mirco is two years older (1992) and stands 1.86 m tall. He is the one that would usually take care of the defence, but as seen in their Sunday’s match, you can count on him for the spiking (top scorer of the match against the Qataris Cherif/Ahmed).
Heidrich/Gerson have a Gold medal from the FIVB World Tour 3* Qinzhou (CHN) in 2019 and a Bronze medal from the FIVB World Tour 3* Luzern (SUI) 2018.
What else do you know for the Beach Volleyball teams representing Europe at the Tokyo Olympic Games? Feel free to send us your feedback.
Day 1 | The place to be, the lessons to learn: Tokyo 2020
The long wait is over! The Olympics are back!
Even writing these words, we still can’t believe it... And who can blame us?
In the past year and a half, many of us had to cancel their plans or reorganise their lives. We got used to the idea that events can be easily cancelled, so some of us (yours truly) developed the habit of not getting excited up until the very last moment.
To be fair, this was the case with the Olympics as well. Watching the Opening Ceremony on Friday, we held our breaths, wondering: “Ok, maybe it is happening? This time, for real?”
It is happening.
One of the best things that we will be doing in the next days, is following together the Men’s tournament at the Beach Volleyball competition. Of course, our special focus will be on how the European teams will do, so make sure to read us daily.
There are as many 13 European men’s pairs at Tokyo 2020 and all of them were excited to start their Olympics journey!
Like Mr.Skyball, Italy’s Adrian Carambula, who spreads the message of the Olympic values on his Instagram profile.
Or like Latvia’s beach volleyball legend, Martins Plavins, who enjoyed a special encounter with one of the biggest volleyball icons, Karch Kiraly.
Yes, the Olympics are the place to be!
They teach us about winning and losing; about the values of sports; and about life itself.
So, what are the lessons that we can learn from today’s matches?
Delving into the real action, on Day 1, we had our eyes on Alexander Brouwer & Robert Meeuwsen (Netherlands), Anders Mol & Christian Sorum (Norway), Konstantin Semenov & Ilya Leshukov (ROC - Russian Olympic Committee) and Pablo Herrera & Adrian Gavira (Spain).
Details do matter
Semenov and Leshukov met Herrera/Gavira in the only European derby of the day. Semenov/Leshukov defeated their Spanish opponents at 2-0. After the match, five-time Olympian Herrera and his teammate Gavira were well-aware that in such a close match, the details make the difference.
The Beachvolley Vikings, Mol and Sorum avoided a disappointment on the first day, winning at 2-1 over the Aussies McHugh & Schumann. The Norwegians started good in their match, but then lost the second set, lacking concentration. The Vikings could then find the mental toughness to grab the victory in the tie-break, and most probably will look forward to closing their next matches in two sets only, remaining as much focused as possible.
Coming back is a mission possible
Rio 2016 bronze medallists, the Dutch duo Alexander Brouwer & Robert Meeuwsen seized a thrilling two-sets win over the USA legends, Nick Lucena and three-time Olympian and Beijing 2008 gold medallist Phil Dalhausser.
Brower and Meewsen were behind in the score in both of the sets, but came back and emerged victorious. A great inspiration for all the other European athletes at the Olympics!
It's a wrap for Day 1, and we are already looking forward to what the Sunday will bring us.