Alison and Ludwig top Rio 2016 Olympic performers

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, August 19, 2016 - After 13 days of competition featuring 108 matches watched by 280,920 spectators with pairs from Germany and Brazil topping the podiums at the 12,000-seat “Coliseu on Copacabana”, the last bit of Beach Volleyball business for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games was naming the most outstanding players for the men’s and women’s competition.

Laura Ludwig of Germany and Alison Cerutti of Brazil were named here Friday as the women’s and men’s most outstanding players, respectively, in a vote among media members and FIVB officials for the sixth edition of Beach Volleyball in the “Summer” Games.

Ludwig teamed with Kira Walkenhorst to become the first European women’s pair to win the Olympic gold medal as the fourth-seeded Germans posted a 2-0 (21-18, 21-14) early Thursday morning win in 40 minutes over second-seeded and reigning FIVB world champions Agatha Bednarczuk and Barbara Seixas of Brazil in the finale.

Twenty-four hours later, top-seeded Alison and Bruno Oscar Schmidt validated their 2015 FIVB World Championship gold medal by defeating Daniele Lupo and Paolo Nicolai of Italy 2-0 (21-19, 21-17) in 44 minutes to become Brazil’s second men’s Olympic gold medal winner.  The first was Emanuel Rego and Ricardo Santos at the Athens 2004 Summer Games.

In guiding her team to a perfect 7-0 record with only one set setback in the women’s competition, Ludwig ranked fourth among all players in digs (76), fifth in service winners (13), eighth in Rio point production (103 points) and 12th in attacks with a 58 percentage (90 of 154).

“It was not about her statistics,” said one veteran media member in casting a vote for Ludwig.  “It was about her leadership on the court with Kira.  She was competing in her third Olympics and her experience of playing in big matches in a big stadium with a world-wide television audience was a steadying factor for her team.  Except for one set, the Germans were unbeatable.”

The only blemish on Team Ludwig/Walkenhorst’s Copacabana chronicle was a 21-18 second set setback to Laura Giombini and Marta Menegatti of Italy in a “meaningless” Pool D match won by the Germans 2-1 (21-18, 18-21, 15-9) in 51 minutes.  In Ludwig and Walkenhorst’s other six Rio matches, the Germans average set win was 21-13 with each contest lasting an average of 34 minutes.

Alison’s road to the top of the Copacabana podium early Friday morning was tougher as he and Bruno dropped a Pool A match August 8 to Clemens Doppler and Alexander Horst of Austria 2-1 (23-21, 16-21, 15-13) in 57 minutes that left the Brazilians second in their group.

In losing their top-seeding for the elimination rounds, Alison and Bruno roared back to the gold medal match by ousting experienced FIVB World Tour teams from Spain (seventh-seeded Adrian Gavira/Pablo Herrera), the United States (Phil third-seeded Dalhausser/Nick Lucena) and The Netherlands (second-seeded Alexander Brouwer/Robert Meeuwsen) from gold medal contention.

“The Brazilians road to the top of the podium was tough as each of their opponents were very experienced,” said another media member.  “Alison and Bruno where extended in each match with their opposition in position to win sets and/or the match.  Give the Brazilians credit for meeting the challenge as being the Olympic gold medal favorites and Alison’s play was the determining factor.”

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A silver medalist at the London 2012 Olympic Games with Emanuel Rego where the Brazilians dropped the finale in three sets to Julius Brink and Jonas Reckermann of Germany, Alison was first in blocks (40), second in point production (163), tied for sixth in service winners (8), tied for seventh in fastest serve (94 km/h) and 14th in attacks with a 60 percentage (115 of 192).

Alison’s sixth and final block in the gold medal match gave the Brazilians breathing room at 16-14 in the second set against Lupo and Nicolai.  With his side out game inconsistent throughout his team’s seven matches in the Rio 2016 Olympic, Alison maintained his 60 percent attack mark (18 of 30) in the finals against Italy.

While Ludwig and Walkenhorst will take a break from international competition before playing next month in the SWATCH FIVB World Tour Finals in Toronto, Canada, September 13-18, Alison and Bruno will be back in action next week at the FIVB World Tour event in the United States at the Long Beach Grand Slam from August 23-28. The Brazilians are the defending Long Beach champions where Alison and Bruno defeated Dalhausser and Lucena in the three-set 2015 gold medal match.


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