Lausanne, Switzerland, April 12, 2020 - Led by legendary Brazilians Emanuel Rego, Larissa Franca and Adriana Samuel, 10 Olympians celebrate their birthdays this week (April 12-18).
In addition to the birthdays for players from Brazil, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain, seven FIVB World Tour gold medals were awarded during the April 12-18 time frame along with rewards for the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia.
Emanuel, who has won more FIVB World Tour titles, medals and matches than any other play in history, celebrates No. 47 on Wednesday. With a World Tour career spanning 23 seasons (1994-2016) and a record 256 FIVB events, Emanuel captured 77 gold medals, placed on 155 podiums, appeared in 171 semifinals and won 1,214 matches (79.3 winning percentage).
In appearing in five Olympics with four different partners, Emanuel placed on the Summer Games podium three times with a gold (Athens 2004) and a bronze (Beijing 2008) with Ricardo Santos, and a silver (London 2012) with Alison Cerutti. Emanuel placed ninth with both Ze Marco de Melo (Atlanta 1996) and Jose Loiola (Sydney 2000).
Larissa, who turns 38 on Tuesday, joins Emanuel as the FIVB World Tour leader for women in titles, medals and match wins as she appeared in three Olympics highlighted by a bronze medal placement with Juliana Felisberta at the London 2012 Summer Games. She also placed fourth at the Rio 2016 Olympics with Talita Antunes and fifth with Ana Paula Connelly Henkel at the Beijing 2008 Summer Games.
London 2012 bronze medal winners Larissa Franca (left) and Juliana Felisberta of Brazil
Appearing in 151 World Tour events, Larissa claimed 62 gold medals, secured 105 podium spots, appeared in 112 semifinals and amassed 798 match wins (84.4 winning percentage) in 15 international seasons (2002-2012, 2014-2017).
Both Emanuel and Larissa captured FIVB World Championship crowns along with Pan American gold medals in 2007 and 2011. Emanuel topped the world podium with three different partners, including 1999 with Loiola, 2003 with Ricardo and 2011 with Alison. Larissa and Juliana were world champs in 2011.
In turning 54 today (April 12), Adriana Samuel captured back-to-back medals in the Atlanta 1996 (silver) and Sydney 2000 (bronze) Olympic Games with Monica Rodrigues and Sandra Pires, respectively. Adriana’s World Tour career spanned eight seasons (1993-2000) as she placed on 29 podiums with seven gold medals and 39 semifinal appearances in 61 events.
A toast at the Rio 2016 Olympics for (left) to right Monica Rodrigues, Jackie Silva, Adriana Samuel, FIVB President Dr. Ary S. Graça F° and Sandra Pires
Other beach volleyball Olympians celebrating birthdays this week are Lina Yanchulova of Bulgaria (45, 2000 and 2004 Olympics) on Sunday, Riccardo Lione of Italy (48, 2008) on Monday, Debora Schoon Kadijk of the Netherlands (51, 1996, and 2000), Danja Musch of Germany (49, 1996, 2000 and 2004) and Benjamin Insfran of Brazil (48, 2004) on Tuesday, Raul Mesa of Spain (38, 2008) on Thursday and Lenka Hajeckova of the Czech Republic (42, 2012) on Friday.
Of this group, Benjamin ranks among the FIVB leaders in gold medals (13) and podium placements (33) as he played on the World Tour for 16 seasons (1997-2012) with 152 events played. Mesa was a 2002 FIVB under-21 world champion with Pablo Herrera as the pair also topped one World Tour podium together.
Yanchulova played in 96 events with her younger sister Petia as the pair ranks 10th on the FIVB women’s team participation list. The Yanchulovas never placed on a World Tour podium, but captured three gold medals at FIVB Challenger/Satellite events and finished third at the 2004 European Championships in Spain.
Lina (right) and Petia (left) Yanchulova in May 2006 at a Ferrari facility in Maranello, Italy
Highlighting the event winners this week in FIVB history are gold medal performances by Brazilians Sandra Pires and Jackie Silva on April 14, 1996 in Maceió, Brazil, and April 16 and 17, 2016 by Adrian Gavira/Herrera of Spain and Isabelle Forrer/Anouk Verge-Depre of Switzerland in Xiamen China, respectively.
Other World Tour wins this week in Malaysia at Langkawi were by Anton Kislytsyn/Daniil Kuvichka of Russia and Lara Dykstra/Cassie House of the United States on April 14, 2019 and Nivaldo Diaz/Sergio Gonzalez of Cuba and Kim DiCello/Emily Stockman of the United States on April 16, 2017.
The Commonwealth Games 2018 gold medals in April by Christopher McHugh/Damien Schumann of Australia and Melissa Humana-Paredes/Sarah Pavan of Canada are also among the notable international beach volleyball highlights for the week of April 12-18.
Sarah Pavan (black top right) shows her excitement at the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast, Australia, on April 12 as she and Canadian partner Melissa Humana-Paredes defeated Australia's Mariafe Artacho and Taliqua Clancy in the women's gold medal match at Coolangatta.