Reigning world champions claim first FIVB gold medal

Gold medal in The Hague the first of four 2019 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour titles

Viacheslav Krasilnikov and Oleg Stoyanovskiy of Russia started their remarkable run in 2019 this week by winning their first of four gold medals that season in The Hague two years ago.

Seeded sixth in the first FIVB event of the calendar year in 2019, Krasilnikov and Stoyanovskiy upset second-seeded Anders Mol and Christian Sorum of Norway 2-0 (21-12, 21-13) in a 28-minute quarterfinal match on January 5 to snare their third-straight semifinal appearance together after placing second and third in their first two World Tour starts together.

Viacheslav Krasilnikov (left) at the Dela Beach Open 2019 net in The Hague against Anders Mol

The next day, Krasilnikov and Stoyanovskiy avenged a gold medal setback in their first World Tour appearance together by posting a 2-0 (21-18, 21-14) semifinal victory in 33 minutes over compatriots Ilya Leshukov and Konstantin Semenov. Three months earlier in China, Leshukov and Semenov scored a 2-1 (14-21, 21-19, 15-13) gold medal victory in 49 minutes over Krasilnikov and Stoyanovskiy.

The semifinal victory set up the first of three gold medal matches in 2019 for Krasilnikov and Stoyanovskiy against Julius Thole and Clemens Wickler of Germany as the Russians topped the 2019 podium in The Hague with a 2-0 (21-11, 21-18) win in 35 minutes.

Six months later, the two teams met for the second time in an international finale as Krasilnikov and Stoyanovskiy posted a 2-1 (19-21, 21-17, 15-11) triumph in the 72-minute gold medal at the 2019 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships on July 7 in Hamburg, Germany.

Two months after the World Championship success, Krasilnikov and Stoyanovskiy scored another win over Thole and Wickler as the Germans fell 2-0 (21-16, 21-16) in the 45-minute gold medal match at the 2019 FIVB World Tour Finals in Rome on September 8. The Russians also posted a three-set pool play win over Thole and Wickler earlier in the 2019 season at Doha, Qatar.

Despite the four gold medals in 2019 with six World Tour medals, eight final four finishes and a 55-13 match mark for 14 events, Krasilnikov and Stoyanovskiy finished second on the season’s FIVB points list behind Mol and Sorum as the Norwegians topped eight podiums during the season.

The two teams split their four head-to-head meetings in 2019 with Mol and Sorum winning semifinals matches over the Russians in June at stops in the Czech Republic (Ostrava) and Poland (Warsaw). In the last meeting between the two pairs on September 20 at the 2020 European Champions in Latvia, the Norwegians defeated Krasilnikov and Stoyanovskiy in two sets for the gold medal.

Other teams winning gold medals this week in World Tour history also topped podiums in The Hague.

On January 7, 2018, Martins Plavins/Edgars Tocs of Latvia and Alix Klineman/April Ross of the United States won the men’s and women’s titles at the Dela Beach Open as both pairs were topping an FIVB podium for the first time.

Nearly a year later on January 6, 2019, Brazilians Rebecca Cavalcanti and Ana Patricia Silva claimed their second of three FIVB World Tour gold medals by posted a 2-0 (21-10, 21-18) win in 31 minutes over Americans Kelly Claes and Sara Sponcil of the United States.

Several Olympians celebrate birthdays this week, including the Dieckmann twins of Germany (Markus and Christoph), who turn 45 on Thursday (January 7).

Christoph (left) and Markus (centre) at a 2007 FIVB World Tour event with German world and Olympic champion Julius Brink

Three-time Olympic and world championship medal winner Ricardo Santos of Brazil celebrates his 46th birthday Wednesday (January 6). Nicknamed "The Wall", Ricardo ranks behind long-time partner Emanuel Rego in FIVB World Tour appearances (237), earnings (US$1,920,183), gold medals (55), podium placements (109) and final four finishes (127).

Brazil's Ricardo Santos (right) hits against Dutchman Christiaan Varenhorst at a March 2016 FIVB World Tour stop on Copacabana in Rio

Three other Olympians celebrate January 7 birthdays with the Dieckmanns, including Belgium’s Liesbeth Mouha (38th), Switzerland's Jan Schnider (38th) and Marleen Van Iersel (33rd) of the Netherlands.

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