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Beach Volleyball at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Summer Games:

Women's Beach Volleyball

Beach Volleyball at the 2016 Summer Games: Previous Summer Games

Events:

Host City: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Venue(s): Copacabana Stadium, Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro
Date Started: August 6, 2016
Date Finished: August 17, 2016
Format: Top 16 teams from round-robin pools advanced to the single-elimination tournament.

Gold: GER Germany-1
Silver: BRA Brazil-1
Bronze: USA United States-1

Summary

Despite being number three in the FIVB World Tour Rankings, the American pair of [Kerri Walsh Jennings] and [April Ross] were favourites for gold in Rio, largely due to Walsh Jennings’s record of never having lost a match at the Olympics. She had won 21 straight games and dropped just one set in three Olympics that saw her as champion (with [Misty May]) in 2004, 2008 and 2012. Her new partner, Ross, was a silver medalist in London four years earlier. Strangely, the new pairing reached only the last 16 at the 2015 World Championship, losing to the Chinese pair of [Wang Fan] and [Yue Yuan], in a tournament that saw the Brazilian women dominate all three medal places with [Bárbara Seixas] and [Ágatha Bednarczuk] taking gold. They were considered serious contenders for the gold medal on home sand in Rio, as were the other local favourites [Larissa França] and [Talita Antunes]. The two Brazilian teams were seeded one and two in Rio, with Walsh Jennings and Ross number three, and with the German world number ones [Laura Ludwig] and [Kira Walkenhorst] ranked four.

As expected, Walsh Jennings and Ross qualified for the final 16 but not until a tense final match against the Swiss girls [Isabelle Forrer] and [Anouk Vergé-Dépré]. The Americans won 21-13, 22-24, 15-12 and it was the first set they had dropped in the 2016 competition and only the second that Walsh Jennings had dropped in her Olympic career. Larissa and Talita qualified without dropping a set as did [Elsa Baquerizo] and [Liliana Fernández] of Spain. A vastly experienced duo, the Spaniards were one of six teams (men and women) to have competed at both London 2012 and Rio 2016, but they had the distinction of being the partnership who had played together the most and their opening game in Rio was their 420th match together. Perhaps the biggest names to fail to make it through the qualifying matches were those of the Americans [Lauren Fendrick] and [Brooke Sweat] who finished bottom of their group.

The clash of the last 16 was between Larissa and Talita and the German seventh seeds, [Karla Borger] and [Britta Büthe] and it was the home favourites who came through 21-17, 21-19. The Spaniards Elsa and Liliana put up a great fight in losing to the FIVB 23rd ranked pair [Yekaterina Birlova] and [Yevgeniya Ukolova] of Russia, 21-23, 22-24, while the reigning world champions Bárbara and Ágatha won 21-12, 21-16 against the Chinese pair Wang and Yue. Kerry Walsh Jennings remained on course for her fourth consecutive gold medal with a straight sets win over the Italians [Marta Menegatti] and [Laura Giombini], who came into the Italian team just three days before it started, after Viktoria Orsi Toth was banned after testing positive for a banned substance.

The Brazilian duos of Larissa and Talita and Bárbara and Ágatha reached the semi-finals, but Larissa and and Talita only did so after winning the match of the tournament against the Swiss pair [Joana Heidrich] and [Nadine Zumkehr] 21-23, 27-25, 15-13. The four Brazilians were joined in the semis by Ludwig and Walkenhorst of Germany and Ross and Walsh Jennings, who celebrated her quarter-final victory on her 38th birthday.

The semi-finalists were made up of the top four seeds and it was a mixed day for the partisan Brazilian crowd. Firstly they had to witness top seeds Larissa and Talita lose in straight sets to the Germans 21-18, 21-12, but then they witnessed a piece of Olympic beach volleyball history as American Kerri Walsh Jennings lost her first ever match at the Olympics as second seeds Bárbara and Ágatha won 22-20, 21-18 against Walsh Jennings and April Ross. Prior to this match Walsh Jennings had only lost two sets in her 26-match Olympic career, now that figure had doubled.

In the bronze medal match, which many expected to be the gold medal match before the start of the tournament, Walsh Jennings and Ross looked down and out midway through the second set against Larissa and Talita after losing the first 21-17 and were trailing by three points in the second, but the American girls picked themselves up and set up a deciding set with a 21-17 win. Walsh Jennings made some crucial blocks in the third as the Americans ran out 15-9 winners,

In the final, Bárbara and Ágatha were the first Brazilian pair to appear in a women’s final since 2004 and were hoping to become only the second Brazilian winners of the gold medal after [Sandra Pires] and [Jackie Silva] in 1976. For Germany it was their first appearance in the final and they were guaranteed their first ever women’s medal. Whilst the Brazilians had the fervent support of the packed Copacabana Beach Arena behind them, they were no match for the German’s Ludwig and Walkenhorst. A neck-and-neck first set played in a strong wind, saw the lead change hands five times and was eventually won by the Germans 21-18, but in the second set the European girls led from the start and ran out comfortable 21-14 winners to capture their first ever medal, and the first ever women’s beach volleyball medal by a European country as they emulated their male counterparts [Julius Brink] and [Jonas Reckermann] who won gold in 2012.

Final Standings

Rank Team NOC Medal GP W L PTS SF SA PF PA SAtt SF SAce FS AA AS BS OE TP DS
1 Germany-1 GER Gold 7 7 0 14 14 1 306 222 299 44 28 0 308 188 28 62 306 89
2 Brazil-1 BRA Silver 7 5 2 10 10 5 295 265 291 22 33 0 322 191 19 52 295 91
3 United States-1 USA Bronze 6 5 1 10 10 4 275 220 311 15 11 0 343 210 30 66 317 128
4 Brazil-2 BRA 7 5 2 10 12 5 310 274 302 25 24 0 359 182 24 78 308 100
5T Switzerland-1 SUI 5 3 2 8 9 7 245 219 246 26 9 0 305 160 25 53 247 98
5T Canada-1 CAN 5 4 1 8 8 2 196 171 194 22 11 0 223 111 19 55 196 93
5T Australia-1 AUS 5 4 1 8 8 4 226 202 223 30 15 0 246 146 9 56 226 68
5T Russia RUS 6 3 3 6 6 8 259 278 258 33 13 0 302 159 18 69 259 63
9T Germany-2 GER 5 2 3 4 4 6 182 180 183 27 19 0 217 116 9 38 182 56
9T Netherlands-1 NED 4 2 2 4 6 4 188 176 185 43 17 0 212 119 17 35 188 53
9T Canada-2 CAN 4 2 2 4 4 5 148 160 139 20 7 0 199 98 7 36 148 43
9T Switzerland-2 SUI 4 1 3 2 4 7 194 213 199 21 5 0 248 122 17 50 194 70
9T Italy ITA 4 1 3 2 4 6 164 170 168 16 12 0 199 100 13 39 164 59
9T Poland POL 4 2 2 4 5 5 165 171 165 26 7 0 191 99 18 41 165 43
9T China CHN 4 2 2 4 4 5 152 166 150 21 14 0 195 102 7 29 152 41
9T Spain ESP 4 3 1 6 6 2 170 148 166 18 13 0 181 112 5 40 170 58
17T Czech Republic CZE 4 1 3 2 4 7 182 193 186 23 11 0 227 120 7 44 182 67
17T Venezuela VEN 4 1 3 2 2 6 114 161 117 4 8 0 151 66 3 37 114 46
19T United States-2 USA 3 0 3 0 2 6 127 152 131 10 7 0 167 73 11 36 127 51
19T Argentina ARG 3 0 3 0 1 6 106 133 109 19 4 0 158 71 7 24 106 44
19T Australia-2 AUS 3 0 3 0 1 6 110 145 113 16 11 0 157 72 4 23 110 35
19T Egypt EGY 3 0 3 0 0 6 78 126 79 8 4 0 114 45 3 26 78 21
19T Netherlands-2 NED 3 0 3 0 1 6 105 137 107 17 9 0 138 60 9 27 105 27
19T Costa Rica CRC 3 0 3 0 0 6 96 126 101 12 7 0 128 53 8 28 96 35