15.05.2019 - Gstaad
Where better to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the World Championships than in Gstaad? The beautiful alpine Swiss hideaway, a firm favorite with players and fans alike, hosted the (officially sanctioned) sixth championships, 10 years after the first was held in Los Angeles in 1997. It was the first time it was held in Switzerland and 96 teams (48 men’s, 48 women’s) competed for one million in prize money.
USA conquer Gstaad
Okay, so America completed a double, winning both gold medals. That’s all you need to know. Nothing more to see here. Next.
You’re kidding, right?!
Of course! The biggest story of the 2007 championships was without doubt Kerri Walsh Jennings and Misty May-Treanor’s third successive World Championship title, following up their victories in Rio in 2003 and Berlin in 2005 and thus making it a hat-trick of gold medals. But they didn’t just win it – they smashed it. Eight games, eight wins and 16-0 set record told its own story. China’s Jia Tian and Jie Wang finished runners-up, while Juliana Felisberta and Larissa Franca picked up bronze.
It was Star Spangled Banner all the way as Phil Dalhausser and Todd Rogers ended four years of Brazilian domination in the men’s division, finally giving the USA a men’s gold medal in the competition. Like Kerri and Misty, the pair also won all eight matches, but were pushed all the way by Emanuel and Ricardo in an epic three-set semifinal showdown that Phil and Todd edged 21-16, 13-21, 19-17. In the final, the Americans saw off Dmitri Barsouk and Igor Kolodinsky of Russia. Completing the podium were Andrew Schacht and Joshua Slack of Australia who won bronze.
It’s probably best to start with the Aussie bronze medalists, Schacht and Slack, the 16th seeds who defeated Emanuel and Ricardo in the fight for third place. The duo finished 33rd together two years previously in Berlin and came into tournament with a mixed bag of results. Their result was even more impressive given the fact they began the tournament with a shock defeat to 33rd seeds from China Jian Li and Shun Zhou. Honorable mentions in here also go to Jake Gibb and Sean Rosenthal (USA), Kristjian Kais and Rivo Vesik (Estonia) and Li and Zhou who also finished fifth.
In the women’s tournament, the top four seeds all finished in the top four. The biggest surprise was that Brazil had two teams in the top five. However, like in Berlin two years before, Germany enjoyed success with three teams in the top 10 and two in the top 5. Number 19 seeds Stephanie Pohl and Okka Rau and number 30 seeds Helke Claasen and Antje Roder both reached the quarterfinals.
Worth a watch
Arguably the match of the tournament, here’s nine minutes and 25 seconds of the memorable semifinal match-up between Phil and Todd against Ricardo and Emanuel. Thank you, YouTube.
2007 World Beach-Volley Semi Final Gstaad USA : Dalhausser/Rogers BRA : Ricardo/Emmanuel
How did the Swiss do?
In a word: disappointingly. The top finish of any Swiss team was just 17th.
All eyes were on talented Swiss brothers Paul and Martin Laciga. The duo had finished ninth, second, fifth and fifth in the championships between 1997 and 2003 together, but the duo were eliminated in the first elimination stage on home sand. Compatriots Patrick Heuscher and Sacha Heyer and Marcel Gscheidle and Jan Schnider also fell at the same stage.
A 17th place finish also befell Simone Kuhn and Lea Schwer, the top-ranked Swiss women’s team. Among the other Swiss players involved, a 22-year-old Nadine Zumkehr was eliminated at the pool play stage with partner Annik Skrivan.
A special World Championships because…
Well, it was in Gstaad and, let’s be honest, it’s Gstaad and that’s a good enough reason, right?
Impress your friends by saying:
On their way to winning a third successive world title, Kerri and Misty spent an average of just 36 minutes on court per match on their way to gold.
Advertisment video for the 2007 Beach Volley World championship in Gstaad Switzerland
Where are they now?
After finishing in seventh in the previous championships in Berlin two years before, Todd Rogers recorded his first title alongside Phil Dalhausser. Having collected a number of gold medals and accolades on the US and FIVB tours, Todd went onto win the Olympics the following year with Dalhausser. Nicknamed The Professor, Rogers has been head coach of the Cal Poly Women’s beach volleyball team for the past four years.
The championships in three words?
Golden cow bells!
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