Rio 2016: Germans rule for women’s gold

Lausanne, Switzerland, December 28, 2016 - Looking back on the women’s competition on Copacabana Beach with its iconic venue, the Fédération Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB) will long recall the record-setting Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

After 54 magnificent matches, emerging from their sandy battles ‘at the Copa’ to earn Olympic immortality with podium placements were women’s teams from Germany, host country Brazil and the United States.

Rio 2016 Olympic Games - Women's beach volleyball final - Watch video.

Winning the first women’s gold medal for Germany were fourth-seeded Laura Ludwig/Kira Walkenhorst who upset Brazil’s second-seeded Agatha Bednarczuk/Barbara Seixas in straight sets, 2-0 (21-18, 21-14) in 40 minutes.

Germany now has back-to-back Olympic champions as Ludwig/Walkenhorst join Germany’s London 2012 men’s gold medal winners Julius Brink/Jonas Reckermann in winning Summer Games beach volleyball titles.

Earning the bronze medal were USA’s third-seeded Kerri Walsh Jennings/April Ross who came from behind to upset Brazil’s top-seeded Larissa Franca/Talita Antunes in three spectacular sets, 2-1 (17-21, 21-17, 15-9) in 50 minutes.

With Walsh Jennings and Ross repeat Olympic podium placers, the German and Brazilian players were netting their first Summer Games medals. For Ludwig, the third time was the charm for her as she placed ninth in the 2008 Beijing Olympics and fifth in the 2012 London Olympics with Sara Goller Niedrig. Walsh Jennings won Olympic gold in Athens 2004, Beijing 2008 and London 2012 with Misty May-Treanor. The London title was over compatriots Ross and Jen Kessy.

The successful podium finish for Ross and Walsh Jennings prevented a streak-ending effort for the United States men’s and women’s beach volleyball teams. Like Brazil, the Americans have now medalled in every Olympic Beach Volleyball competition since the introduction of the sport into the Summer Games programme in 1996 at Atlanta.

With 10 total Olympic Beach Volleyball medals, the American men medalled in 1996 (gold and silver), 2000 (gold) and 2008 (gold) quadrennials. The United States women have placed on the Olympic podium in 2004 (gold and bronze), 2008 (gold), 2012 (gold and silver) and now 2016 (bronze).

Brazil has 13 Olympic medals through 2016 in the men’s and women competition.  Brazilian men have summer successes in 2000 (silver), 2004 (gold), 2008 (silver and bronze), 2012 (silver) and 2016 (gold).  The women from the South American country have placed on the Olympic podiums in 1996 (gold and silver), 2000 (silver and bronze), 2004 (silver), 2012 (bronze) and 2016 (silver).
Brazil's FIVB history
Visiting the country where the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour was born, this was the fifth time in 2016 that the FIVB had an event in Brazil. This year marks the 30th anniversary of the first FIVB beach volleyball event held Feb. 17-22, 1987 in Rio. The gold medal was won by USA’s Sinjin Smith/Randy Stokles.

Overall, counting five women’s events this year, Brazil has hosted 79 total FIVB events, at least one has been held every season that the FIVB has played beach volleyball. Rio de Janeiro has hosted 27 total events, including the 1999 World Championships. Fortaleza has hosted 11 events, followed by Vitória with 10 total events, followed by Brasília with eight total events and Salvador with seven. There have been 41 total men’s events and 36 total women’s events in Brazil.

In women’s medals for FIVB events held in Brazil including the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, Brazil tops the chart with 63 total medals followed again by USA with 31, Germany 6, Australia 3, Netherlands 3, Italy 2, China 1, Japan 1, Germany 1 and Poland 1.

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Now, the Rio stats
With the sixth consecutive Olympic Games featuring beach volleyball as a medal sport, here are some tantalizing tidbits of interesting info regarding the final women’s team and player skill rankings:
•    Twenty-four (24) countries filled the berths for the Rio 2016 Olympic Beach Volleyball competition. All five FIVB confederations were represented in the competition.
Asia - 1 men’s and 3 women’s teams; Africa - 1 men’s and 1 women’s teams; Europe - 13 men’s and 11 women’s teams; NORCECA - 6 men’s and 5 women’s teams; South America - 3 men’s and 4 women’s teams

Women's Final team Olympic stats
•    Aces—Brazil’s Agatha/Barbara led the Olympics with 33 ace serves in seven matches followed by Germany’s Ludwig/Walkenhorst with 28, Brazil’s Larissa/Talita with 24 (both teams in seven matches) and fourth in five matches was Germany’s Karla Borger/Britta Buthe with 19.
•    Attacks—Spain’s Liliana Fernandez/Else Baqueriza topped the list with a 62 per cent attack success rate (112 kills in 181 attempts) in four matches with a tie for second at 61 per cent in seven matches for both USA’s Walsh Jennings/Ross (210 of 343) and Germany’s Ludwig/Walkenhorst (186 of 308). Tied for third at 59 per cent success rate were Brazil’s Agatha/Barbara (191 of 322 in seven matches) and Australia’s Louise Bawden/Taliqua Clancy (146 of 246 in five matches).
•    Blocks—USA’s Walsh Jennings/Ross led the way with 30 blocks in seven matches followed in second by Germany’s Ludwig/Walkenhorst with 28 in seven matches. Third in blocks with 25 in five matches was Switzerland’s Joana Heidrich/Nadine Zumkehr and fourth with 24 blocks in seven matches was Brazil’s Larissa/Talita.
•    Digs—Leading the tournament was USA’s Walsh Jennings/Ross with 128 successful digs in seven matches; followed in second was Brazil’s Larissa/Talita with 100 in seven matches as well. Third was Switzerland’s Heidrich/Zumkehr with 98 in five matches and fourth was Canada’s Sarah Pavan/Heather Bansley with 93 successful digs in five matches.

Women's Final individual Olympic stats
•    Scoring—With the top five individuals all averaging nine points per set, first with 143 total points scored in seven matches was Brazil’s Talita, second was Germany’s Walkenhorst with 141 in seven matches, third was USA’s Walsh Jennings with 140 in seven matches, fourth was Brazil’s Barbara with 134 in seven matches and fifth was Switzerland’s Heidrich with 111 total points in five matches.
•    Aces—With the top five individuals all playing in seven matches, the top individual in service aces was Brazil’s Larissa with 21 while second was Brazil’s Barbara with 19, third was Germany’s Walkenhorst with 19, fourth was Brazil’s Agatha with 14 and fifth was Germany’s Ludwig with 13.
•    Fastest serves—Netherlands’ Sophie van Gestel recorded the fastest serve in the Olympics at 83 km/h followed by the Netherlands’ Marleen Van Iersel at 81 km/h, Australia’s Clancy was third at 78 km/h, fourth was USA’s Ross at 77 km/h and tied for fifth with each having a top serve of 76 km/h were China’s Yuan Yue and Germany’s Buthe.
•    Attacks—Tied for first with a 64 per cent attack success rate were Germany’s Walkenhorst (98 of 154 in seven matches) and Brazil’s Agatha (105 of 167 in seven matches) while tied for third with a 63 per cent attack success rate were USA’s Walsh Jennings (105 of 167 in seven matches), Australia’s Clancy (84 of 134 in five matches) and Canada’s Pavan (51 of 81 in five matches).
•    Blocks—USA’s Walsh Jennings topped this skill category with 30 blocks in seven matches followed by Germany’s Walkenhorst with 28 in seven matches while tied for third with 23 blocks each were Switzerland’s Heidrich (five matches) and Brazil’s Talita (seven matches) and fifth was Canada’s Pavan with 19 (five matches).
•    Digs—Recording the most successful digs in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games was USA’s Ross with 83 in seven matches followed by Canada’s Heather Bansley with 81 (five matches), Switzerland’s Zumkehr with 78 (five Matches), Germany’s Ludwig with 76 (seven matches) and fifth in successful digs was Brazil’s Larissa with 69 (seven matches).


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