Chetumal, Mexico, November 17, 2019 – Three-time Olympian Jake Gibb of the United States made FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour history when he and partner Taylor Crabb topped the podium at the event in Chetumal, Mexico as the veteran blocker became the oldest player to ever win a gold medal in international beach volleyball.
At 43 years, nine months and 12 days, Gibb surpassed fellow American John Hyden (41 years, eight months and 15 days) as he and Crabb downed top-seeded Alexander Brouwer and Robert Meeuwsen of the Netherlands 2-1 (21-16, 16-21, 15-12) in the gold medal match in the Mexican city to secure their first World Tour medal as a team. Taylor’s older brother, Trevor, and Tri Bourne finished third.
“It feels amazing right now,” Gibb said about the accomplishment. “That’s obviously pretty cool but what makes it more important to me is that it’s my first gold medal with Taylor. I have to thank him for believing in me and sticking with me. The older I get the more court he covers and that’s a wonderful thing. Today we're the number one team in the world and we'll enjoy it.”
Crabb faces Meeuwsen's block during the gold medal match
It took the team 26 events for the first World Tour medal, but for Crabb the wait was actually a little longer as the victory in Chetumal represented the first time he stepped on to a podium in a World Tour event after 31 tournaments – his international debut was in 2015.
The 27-year-old defender was thrilled about the team’s growth, which almost resulted in a podium placement at the 2019 World Tour Finals in Rome, in September, but ended with a fourth-place finish on that occasion.
“It feels amazing,” Crabb analyzed. “We battled so hard for the last three years and to get this in the last tournament the year, especially an Olympic qualifying year, it means the world to us. It’s really special and I wouldn’t have asked for any other partner to do it than Jake.”
Bourne and Crabb secured the USA a second spot pn the podium after they beat German qualifiers Alexander Walkenhorst and Sven Winter 2-0 (21-16, 21-12) in the bronze medal match. It’s the second World Tour medal won by the Americans, who took gold in Qinzhou in 2018, in 13 events together. Earlier this year, they won a NORCECA Tour event in Aguascalientes, Mexico.
“Winning medals in the World Tour is not easy and we certainly don’t take it for granted,” Bourne said. “It’s the last tournament of the year, we’ve travelled thousands of miles to play and it’s not easy, but we left all we had in the court to finish strong. Now we go back home to Hawaii, get some rest and prepare for next year. There are important tournaments ahead of us and hopefully we can do well and qualify for the Olympics.”