Lausanne, Switzerland, November 8, 2020 - In the history of the women’s competition on the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour, Jen Kessy and April Ross rank ninth among all teams in gold medals. The American pair captured two of those titles in back-to-back seasons in Thailand this week in history.
The podium-topping finishes on Karon Beach in the Thai coastal resort of Phuket happened on back-to-back days with Kessy and Ross defeating American rivals in both the gold medal matches on November 8, 2008 and November 9, 2009.
The gold medal win 11 years ago today was the sixth of 10 Kessy/Ross titles as the pair posted a two set win over Angie Akers and Tyra Turner. The victory was the seventh-straight win for Kessy and Ross in the series between the two teams. Eleven years later, Akers is now coaching Ross and Alix Klineman.
After defeating Nicole Branagh and Turner in a three-set, 63-minute match for a 2008 Phuket gold medal for their second World Tour title together on November 9, Kessy and Ross topped another FIVB podium seven days later in China by defeating two host country teams on the final day of play in Sanya.
Centre court action on Karon Beach for the 2008 Phuket Open.
Ross joins Brazilian Larissa Franca and compatriot Kerri Walsh Jennings as the only women to win 10 or more World Tour gold medals with two different partners. Ross and Walsh Jennings amassed 11 FIVB titles together.
Larissa accomplished the feat with Juliana Felisberta (45 titles) and Talita Antunes (16) with Walsh Jennings capturing 40 FIVB gold medals with Misty May-Treanor. Larissa and Walsh Jennings rank 1-2 in overall gold medals with 62 and 56, respectively.
Six beach volleyball Olympians celebrate birthdays this week, including legendary Brazilian Franco Neto. A 16-time winner on the FIVB World Tour with four different partners over a 14-season period, Franco turns 54 on Wednesday. Franco won 13 FIVB gold medals with Roberto Lopes as the pair placed ninth at the Atlanta 1996 Olympics.
Legendary World Tour gold medal winners (left to right) Roberto Lopes, Randy Stoklos, Franco Neto and Sinjin Smith.
Olympians celebrating birthdays today are Sydney 2000 participant Zi Xiong of China and Rio 2016 performer Doaa Elghobashy of Egypt. The 44-year old Xiong captured one FIVB Challenge title in 2001 with Rong Chi after the pair placed ninth in Sydney. Elghobashy is 24 today and placed 19th in Rio with Nada Meawad.
Preparing to serve the Mikasa at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games is Doaa Elghobashy of Egypt.
Mexican Olympians Lombardo Ontiveros (37 Monday) and Teresa Galindo (50 Thursday) celebrate birthdays this week along with American Gail Castro Kehl, who turns 63 Thursday. Ontiveros and Juan Virgen placed ninth in the Rio Summer Games.
Stretching for the Mikasa is Lombardo Ontiveros of Mexico.
Galindo and Hilda Gaxiola were 19th in the Sydney Olympics after losing to eventual champions Natalie Cook/Kerri Pottharst and Xiong/Chi. Castro Kehl, who captured a 1994 World Tour event in Puerto Rico with Elaine Roque, was ninth at the Atlanta 1996 Summer Games with Deb Richardson.
Teresa Galindo (right) of Mexico at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games.
Here are the FIVB gold medals for the November 8-14 time period.
In 2009, Kessy and Ross won the Phuket Open. It was the sixth of 10 FIVB World Tour wins for the team.
In 2014, Tim Holler and Jonas Schroder of Germany won the Doha Open. It was the first and only FIVB World Tour win for the team.
Doha 2014 gold medal winners Jonas Schroder (left) and Tim Holler of Germany.
In 2008, Kessy and Ross won the Phuket Open. It was the second of 10 FIVB World Tour wins for the team.
In 2014, Linline Matauatu and Miller Pata of Vanuatu won the Pattaya Challenger. It was the first and only FIVB win for the team.
In 2019, Samuele Cottafava and Jakob Windisch of Italy won the Tel Aviv Open. It was the second of two FIVB World Tour wins for the team.
In 2019, Reika Murakami and Kaho Sakaguchi of Japan won the Tel Aviv Open. It was the first and only FIVB World Tour win for the team.
Tel Aviv 2019 winners Samuele Cottafava and Jakob Windisch from Italy and Kaho Sakaguchi and Reika Murakami from Japan.
In 1996, Monica Rodrigues and Adriana Samuel of Brazil won the Salvador Open. It was the second of five FIVB World Tour wins for the team.
Adriana Samuel (left) and Monica Rodrigues at the Volleyball House at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
In 2007, Jia Tian and Jie Wang of China won the Hong Kong Challenger. It was the sixth and final FIVB win for the team.
Top Chinese teams at the 2007 Hong Kong with presenters are (left to right) Xi Zhang, Chen Xue, Jie Wang and Jia Tian.
In 1995, Francisco Alvarez and Juan Rossell of Cuba won the Puerto Rico Open. It was the first of two FIVB wins for the team.
In 1995, Karolyn Kirby and Nancy Reno won the Puerto Rico Open. It was the third and final FIVB World Tour win for the team.
Francisco Alvarez of Cuba seeks the Mikasa.
In 2015, Markus Bockermann and Lars Fluggen of Germany won the Qatar Open. It was the second of three FIVB World Tour wins for the team.
Doha 2015 winners Lars Fluggen (left) and Markus Bockermann of Germany.
In 1993, Kirby and Liz Masakayan won the Santos Open. It was the first of three FIVB World Tour wins for the team.
Liz Masakayan (centre) talking with Kerri Walsh Jennings (left) and Misty May-Treanor.