Rio 2016: Olympic Games golden for Brazilian men

Lausanne, Switzerland, December 29, 2016 — Leaving a lasting legacy in Rio de Janeiro with its iconic competition venue, the Fédération Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB) relished a robust men’s beach volleyball competition at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in August.

The beach volleyball competition, featuring 24 two-person teams in each gender was held in the 12,000-capacity purpose-built Coliseu on Copacabana stadium on the sands of legendary Copacabana Beach. The men’s competition finished following a ‘midnight madness’ gold medal match while the women’s competition ended early on Thursday morning of the day before.

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

After 54 marvellous matches, emerging from their sandy confrontations ‘at the Copa’ to earn Olympic legacies with podium placements were men’s teams from host country Brazil, Italy and the Netherlands.

With steady rain providing symbolic ‘showers of blessings’ on the host country, winning the men’s gold medal early on a Friday morning was Brazil’s top-seeded Alison Cerutti/Bruno Oscar Schmidt who stopped Italy’s 10th-seeded Paolo Nicolai/Daniele Lupo in straight sets, 2-0 (21-19, 21-17) in 45 minutes, causing the raucous roars of their vocal home country fans.

Earning the bronze medal was the Netherlands’ second-seeded Alexander Brouwer/Robert Meeuwsen who won in two sets over Russia’s eighth-seeded Konstantin Semenov/Viacheslav Krasilnikov, 2-0 (23-21, 22-20) in 46 minutes.

While Lupo and Nicolai were securing Italy’s first-ever Olympic beach volleyball medal, Alison and Bruno became Brazil’s second men’s team to top a Summer Games’ beach volleyball podium.  The legendary tandem of Emanuel Rego/Ricardo Santos were the first with a gold medal performance at the Athens 2004 Olympic Games.  

The Brazilian men have also collected three silver medals (2000, 2008 and 2012) and one bronze (2008) in Olympic beach volleyball competition.  Alison/Emanuel were silver medal finishers at the London 2012 Summer Games where the Brazilians were defeated in three sets by Germany’s Julius Brink/Jonas Reckermann of Germany in the finale.

Brouwer and Meeuwsen became the first Dutch team to win an FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships, when they triumphed in 2013, and now they have bettered Reinder Nummerdor and Richard Schuil’s fourth-place finish from London 2012.

The year of 2016 also marked only the second time in six Olympic Games that have included beach volleyball as a medal sport that the stadium was built on a beach. The other time was the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games in Australia where beach volleyball was held at Bondi Beach.

Brazil's FIVB history
Visiting the country where the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour was born, FIVB had five events in Brazil in 2016. 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 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 42 total men’s events and 37 total women’s events in Brazil.

In the medal count for events held in the South American country, Brazil is far ahead in both genders. For the men after their Olympic gold medal match, Brazil has 69 total medals followed by the United States with 25, Germany 6, Switzerland 6, Argentina 4, Netherlands 4, Poland 3, Canada 2, Italy 2, Latvia 2, China 1, Cuba 1, Mexico 1 and Norway 1.

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Now, the Rio stats
From the sixth consecutive Olympic Games featuring beach volleyball as a medal sport, here are some tantalizing tidbits of interesting info regarding the final men’s team and player skill rankings with the final four finishers understandably ranking high in each team and individual categories:

•    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

Men's final team Olympic stats
•    Aces—Italy’s Nicolai/Lupo led the Olympics with 18 ace serves in eight matches followed by Mexico’s Juan Virgen/Lombardo Ontiveros with 16 in four matches, Russia’s Semenov/Krasilnikov with 16 in seven matches, Brazil’s Alison/Bruno Schmidt with 16 in seven matches and tied with 14 aces each were Brazil’s Pedro Solberg/Evandro Goncalves (four matches), Cuba’s Nivaldo Diaz/Sergio Gonzalez (five matches) and Netherlands’Brouwer/Meeuwsen (seven matches).
•    Attacks—Russia’s Nikita Liamin/Dmitri topped the list with a 64 per cent attack success rate (137 kills in 213 attempts) in five matches, second was Netherlands’ Brouwer/Meeuwsen at 63 per cent (198 of 368 in seven matches), third was Cuba’s Diaz/Gonzalez at 61 per cent (162 of 267 in five matches), fourth was Brazil’s Pedro Solberg/Evandro at 60 per cent (138 of 229 in four matches) and fifth was Brazil’s Alison/Bruno Schmidt at 59 per cent (202 of 345 in seven matches).
•    Blocks—Tied for first with 40 blocks in seven matches each were Brazil’s Alison/Bruno Schmidt and Russia’s Semenov/Krasilnikov, third was Italy’s Nicolai/Lupo with 40 blocks in eight matches, fourth was Netherlands’ Brouwer/Meeuwsen with 39 in seven matches and fifth was Cuba’s Diaz/Gonzalez with 24 blocks in five matches.
•    Digs—Leading the tournament was Italy’s Nicolai/Lupo with 83 successful digs in eight matches followed in second was Russia’s Semenov/Krasilnikov with 82 in seven matches. Third was Brazil’s Alison/Bruno Schmidt with 80 in seven matches, fourth was Netherlands’ Brouwer/Meeuwsen with 68 successful digs in seven matches and fifth was Netherlands’ Reinder Nummerdor/Christiaan Varenhorst with 67 successful digs in five matches.

Men's Final individual Olympic stats
•    Scoring—First with 183 total points scored in eight matches was Italy’s Lupo, second was Brazil’s Alison with 163 in seven matches, third was Netherlands’ Meeuwsen with 133 in seven matches, fourth was Russia’s Semenov with 127 in seven matches and fifth was Russia’s Krasilnikov with 124 total points in seven matches.
•    Aces—The top individual in service aces was Italy’s Nicolai with 16 in eight matches while second was Russia’s Semenov with 14 in seven matches, third was Mexico’s Virgen with 13 in four matches fourth was Brazil’s Evandro with 11 in four matches and fifth was Cuba’s Diaz with 11 ace serves in five matches.
•    Fastest serves—Russia’s Semenov recorded the fastest serve in the Olympics at 102 km/h followed by Italy’s Nicolai at 100 km/h, Brazil’s Evandro was third at 99 km/h, fourth was Cuba’s Diaz at 96 km/h and tied for fifth with each having a top serve of 95 km/h were Spanish teammates Pablo Herrera/Adrian Gavira.
•    Attacks—First with a 69 per cent attack success rate was Cuba’s Diaz (72 of 104 in five matches), second with a 67 per cent attack success rate was Netherlands’ Meeuwsen (86 of 128 in seven matches), third with a 67 per cent attack success rate was Russia’s Nikita Liamin (82 of 122 in five matches), fourth at 67 per cent as well was USA’s Casey Patterson (50 of 75 in three matches) and fifth at 66 per cent was Italy’s Alex Ranghieri (37 of 56 in four matches).
•    Blocks—Brazil’s Alison topped this skill category with 40 blocks in seven matches while tied for second with 39 blocks in seven matches each were Netherlands’ Meeuwsen and Russia’s Semenov, fourth with 38 blocks was Italy’s Nicolai (eight matches) and fifth was Cuba’s Gonzalez with 24 (five matches).
•    Digs—Recording the most successful digs in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games was Russia’s Krasilnikov with 75 in seven matches followed by Brazil’s Bruno Schmidt with 71 (seven matches), Italy’s Lupo was third with 66 (eight Matches), fourth was Netherlands’ Nummerdor with 60 (five matches) and fifth in successful digs was USA’s Nick Lucena with 58 (five matches).


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