Lausanne, Switzerland, April 26, 2020 - Since 2011, Daniele Lupo and Paolo Nicolai have been playing together on the World Tour and the Italian pair's first-ever FIVB gold medal together happened six years ago on this day in Fuzhou, China.
This week in FIVB World Tour history (April 26-May 2) also features birthdays for Olympic beach volleyball participants Viacheslav Krasilnikov, Richard Schuil and Martin Reader along with a pair of gold medals for the Brazilian tandem of Maria Antonelli/Talita Antunes to book end their four-season partnership.
47th birthday for Richard Schuil of the Netherlands this week
Lupo and Nicolai validated their initial World Tour title immediately by topping an FIVB podium the next week in Shanghai (May 3, 2014) as the Italians won 13 of their 14 matches during an 11-day period highlighted by gold medal wins over pairs from Brazil (Alison Cerutti/Bruno Oscar Schmidt in Fuzhou) and Latvia (Aleksandrs Samoilovs/Janis Smedins in Shanghai).
Since then, Lupo and Nicolai have registered only one more World Tour gold medal by defeating Konstantin Semenov and Viacheslav Krasilnikov in a 2016 finale in Sochi on May 8. Earlier in the Sochi event, the homestanding Russians had defeated the Italians in pool play.
Still an active partnership, Lupo and Nicolai have qualified their country for their third-straight Olympics after winning one of the two Summer Games spots available at a Tokyo 2020 qualifying event in China last September at Haiyang. Since playing in their first tournament in April 2011 at Brasilia, Lupo and Nicolai have appeared in 86 World Tour events with 12 FIVB finals, 22 podium placements, 25 final fours and 41 quarterfinal appearances.
Shanghai 2014 victory gifts for Italians Paolo Nicolai (left) and Daniele Lupo.
Prior to placing ninth at the London 2012 Olympic Games, Antonelli and Talita posted their first tournament win in their second World Tour together by topping the podium in 2009 in Shanghai on May 2 over Jie Wang/Man Zuo of China. Win No. 8 for the Brazilian pair came nearly four later in China as Antonelli and Talita defeated compatriots Juliana Felisberta and Larissa Franca at the 2012 Sanya Open on April 29.
A year earlier in Sanya, Juliana and Larissa topped a World Tour podium on May 1 as the Brazilians posted three-straight wins over Americans Misty May-Treanor/Kerri Walsh, Antonelli/Talita and China’s Chen Xue/Xi Zhang in the finals. Forty-nine days later in Rome, Juliana and Larissa captured the gold medal at the 2011 FIVB World Championships.
The first World Tour gold medal win by a Canadian women’s team happened today in 2015 in China when Jamie Broder and Kristina May defeated Chantal Laboureur and Julia Sude of Germany for the gold medal in Fuzhou. Three weeks later in Switzerland, Broder and May collected a bronze medal in Lucerne to help cement their spot in the Rio 2016 Olympics where the pair placed ninth after being eliminated by compatriots Heather Bansley/Sarah Pavan.
Kristina May (left) talks with the media on April 26, 2015 as she and partner Jamie Broder win Canada's first women's gold medal in Fuzhou, China.
While the Canadians were winning their first gold medal on this date, legendary Brazilians Emanuel Rego and Ricardo Santos won the last World Tour gold medal together by topping the 2009 podium in Brasilia on this date by defeating compatriots Alison Cerutti and Harley Marques in the finals.
In Fuzhou in 2013 and 2014 on April 27, the American tandems of Phil Dalhausser/Sean Rosenthal and April Ross/Kerri Walsh Jennings captured World Tour gold medals. Dalhauser and Rosenthal defeated Lupo and Nicolai for the 2013 Fuzhou crown for the pair's first of six FIVB gold medals together.
A day after Lupo and Nicolai's first FIVB win together, Ross and Walsh Jennings joined the Italians as Fuzhou 2014 winners by defeating Chen Xue/Xi Zhang of China and Antonelli/Talita in the final four to win the gold medal.
The April 28 date featured World Tour wins at Chinese sites by Xue/Zhang in 2013 in Fuzhou over Spain’s Elsa Baquerizo/Liliana Fernandez, and 2019 in Xiamen by Krasilnikov/Oleg Stoyanovskiy of Russia and Rebecca Cavalcanti/Ana Patricia Silva of Brazil. The Russians defeated Adrian Gavira/Pablo Herrera in the men’s Xiamen finale with the Brazilians betting Barbora Hermannova/Marketa Slukova for the gold medal.
On April 29 in World Tour history, event winners were Brazilians Pedro Cunha/Ricardo Santos in 2012 in Myslowice, Poland over compatriots Marcio Araujo/Pedro Solberg, and 2018 in Malaysia for Austrians Simon Fruhbauer/Jorg Wutzl and Russia Ksenia Dabizha/Daria Mastikova in Langkawi. The Austrians defeated Petr Bakhnar/Taras Myskiv of Russia in the men's finale while Dabizha and Mastikova posted a gold medal win over the Netherlands' Katja Stam/Julia Wouters.
The 2018 Langkawi podium placers for men and women featuring teams from Russia, the Netherlands, Austria, Australia and Thailand.
On May 1, 2016 in Brazil, the host country swept the podium in Fortaleza as Andre Loyola won his first-ever World Tour gold medal with Oscar Brandao by defeating Germans Jonathan Erdmann and Kay Matysik in the men’s final. Eduarda "Duda" Lisboa and Elize Maia won the women’s gold medal with a win over compatriots Juliana and Taiana Lima.
Tuesday (April 28) is Krasilnikov's 29th birthday while Saturday (May 2) marks the 47th for Dutchman Schuil, the 36th for Canadian Reader. Schuil placed fourth with Reinder Nummerdor in the London 2012 Summer Games after losing to Latvians Martins Plavins/Janis Smedins in the bronze medal match.
Schuil and Nummerdor, who placed fifth at the Beijing 2008 Olympics, compiled the best World Tour finishes for Dutch men as the pair competed in 75 FIVB events together with nine gold medals, 16 podium placements, 21 final four finishes and 34 quarter-final appearances.
Reader finished 17th with Josh Binstock in London as the Canadians were eliminated by Lupo and Nicolai. The match was Reader’s last World Tour appearance after starting his international participation in 2004 with a career best finish of ninth with Binstock at an April 2012 event in Myslowice, Poland.
Martin Reader at the London 2012 Olympic Games
Krasilnikov is the reigning FIVB world champion after teaming with Oleg Stoyanovskiy to win the title this past July in Hamburg, Germany. Krasilnikov is Russia's most-decorated beach volleyball player with seven gold medals and 17 podium placements. Krasilnikov and Konstantin Semenov placed fourth at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
Diving for the ball is Russian Viacheslav Krasilnikov