COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (June 22, 2008) -
U.S. Teams Sweep Gold Medals and Women's Podium in Paris
U.S. beach volleyball teams won two gold medals, one silver and one bronze on Sunday at the Henkel Grand Chelem in Paris, a Grand Slam event on the SWATCH FIVB World Tour.
The United States swept the women's medals, with top-ranked Misty May-Treanor (Costa Mesa, Calif.) and Kerri Walsh (Santa Clara, Calif.) defeating 11th-ranked Tyra Turner (Fort Meyers Beach, Fla.) and Rachel Wacholder (Laguna Beach, Calif.), 21-13, 21-13 in 36 minutes, for the gold medal.
In the bronze-medal match, fourth-seeded Nicole Branagh (Orinda, Calif.) and Elaine Youngs (El Toro, Calif.) defeated sixth-seeded Jia Tian and Jie Wang of China, 21-15, 21-18 in 45 minutes. It was the second-time in the 17-year history of the women's international circuit that the U.S. has swept the podium.
On the men's side, third-ranked Phil Dalhausser (Ormond Beach, Fla.) and Todd Rogers (Santa Barbara, Calif.) defeated fourth-seeded Reinder Nummerdor and Richard Schuil of the Netherlands, 21-15, 21-17 in 47 minutes to capture their first SWATCH FIVB World Tour this season after finishing third, third and second in their previous three international starts.
Rogers and May-Treanor were named the SWATCH Most Outstanding Players for the Henkel Grand Chelem that was held in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower. The last time Dalhausser and Rogers were on the winners' podium with May-Treanor and Walsh was at the SWATCH-FIVB World Championships last July in Switzerland.
"I was not feeling my best today," Dalhausser said. "Todd really picked me up and played a very good match against a very strong team. I think playing three tough matches yesterday did not help me, but we made it."
While not losing a set in their seven matches since Thursday, Dalhausser and Rogers shared the $43,500 first-place prize and maintained their spot as the No. 2-ranked team on the overall qualifying list for the 2008 Olympic Games behind Brazilians Emanuel Rego and Ricardo Santos (5,500 points to 5,140). They also increased their lead among the U.S. teams trying to qualify.
May-Treanor and Walsh, who also shared a $43,500 prize, have secured their ticket to Beijing with eight first-place finishes in SWATCH FIVB qualifying evens. However, the teams of Turner and Wacholder, Branagh and Youngs and Jen Boss (San Juan Capistrano, Calif.) and April Ross (Costa Mesa, Calif.) are all battling for the second slot, with Branagh and Youngs leading going into Paris.
"We do not like playing teams from our country since each one is competing for a spot in the Olympics," May-Treanor said. "That is the way it is, so we have to play the match."
Sunday's SWATCH title was May-Treanor and Walsh's 33rd gold-medal finish in 57 FIVB events since the start of the 2001 season. The Americans had broken the record for most SWATCH wins by a team last week in Berlin with Brazilians Emanuel Rego and Ricardo Santos tying the mark the next day in the German capital. This week, Emanuel and Ricardo placed ninth in the men's competition.
May-Treanor and Walsh also extended their SWATCH FIVB World Tour match winning streak to 55 in defeating Turner and Wacholder for the fifth time internationally and the 18th-time overall without a loss.
There is more information on the FIVB beach volleyball site at www.fivb.org/EN/BeachVolleyball/index.asp.