The tournament started on the 6th of June on Poklonnaya Hill. The first news from Moscow was a disappointment for fans – last year’s bronze medalists and FIVB Heroes Todd Rogers and Phil Dalhausser weren’t able to play in the tournament due to injures. But even without the Americans, the battle promised to be fierce both in men’s and women’s groups, with a number of Heroes participating.
But the tournament wasn’t just about beach volleyball, it was full of surprises for indoor volleyball fans as well. The 5-meter statues of FIVB Heroes Kerri Walsh and Emanuel Rego were joined by the same-size statue of the Russian volleyball star Ekaterina Gamova. Her statue was unveiled on Saturday, 9th of June in her presence. Another Russian FIVB Hero Maxim Mikhaylov was also there to support Ekaterina and the FIVB Heroes campaign. “I am deeply honored to be an FIVB Hero. The campaign is a huge step for popularization of volleyball all around the world. I hope it will help our favorite sport become as popular as hockey or soccer very soon”, said Maxim.
The women were the first to finish the tournament: the final games in their group were held on the 11th of June. Last year’s winners Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh (USA) were up against Chen Xue and Xi Zhang from China for the gold medal, while bronze was to be fought for between the Brazilian couples Larissa-Juliana and Talita-Antonelli.
The lucky gold-winners on the day were Xue-Chang, claiming their third Moscow gold of their careers 0-2 (14-21, 14-21). Larissa and Juliana overcame their fellow country women in a tough battle 2-1 (19-21, 21-18, 15-8).
The next day was the men’s turn to go for medals. Our Heroes Alison and Emanuel managed to defend their title in a thrilling match against the Dutchmen Nummerdor and Schuil 2-0 (21-16, 29-27). The bronze-medal this year went to the Brazilians Ricardo and Cunha, while FIVB Heroes Julius Brink and Janas Reckermann missed out on a podium finish.
So the Moscow adventure is over, but there are still more to come: Italy is already hosting the next leg of Swatch World Tour. Follow the action on www.FIVBheroes.com!