For the second tournament in a row, Brazil swept the women’s podium, with Agatha Bednarczuk and Barbara Seixas de Freitas claiming gold at the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships, their third gold medal so far this year. On the men’s side, Brazil’s Bruno Oscar Schmidt and Alison Cerutti took gold over the Netherlands’ Reinder Nummerdor and Christaan Varenhorst, while Brazilians Evandro Goncalves and Pedro Solberg finished out the podium, winning bronze over Americans Theo Brunner and Nick Lucena.
The 27-year-old Seixas de Freitas and 32-year-old Bednarczuk defeated countrywomen Taiana Lima and Fernanda Alves in the women’s gold-medal match 21-18, 22-20.
This video of the first rally sets the scene for the intensity and determination displayed by all four athletes throughout the hard-fought match:
In the bronze medal match, which pitted Brazilians Juliana Felisberta and Maria Antonelli against top German team Katrin Holtwick and Ilka Semmler, fans were treated to a three-set battle, 23-25, 21-18, 15-9, ripe with thrilling saves and shots, like the ones in this video:
In the men’s final, Schmidt and Cerutti played the home-team favorites Nummerdor and Varenhorst. After the Dutch team crushed the Brazilians in the first set 21-12, Schmidt and Cerutti rallied back to take the second set 21-14. In the tie-breaking set, the momentum went back and forth, dragging the 15-point set all the way to 22-20 before Brazil secured its second gold medal of the weekend.
See the entire men’s gold-medal match:
The lone American team to make it to the medal rounds, Lucena and Brunner faced Brazil’s Gonclaves and Solberg in the fight for a bronze. Though the first set was close with the Brazilians winning by a slim two-point margin 22-20, Brunner and Lucena lost hold of the match in the second set, dropping it 21-13. The American duo had a great run at the World Championships, however, going undefeated in pool play and winning three matches in the elimination rounds to make it to the bronze-medal match.
On top of prize money equaling $60,000 for each top-placing duo, the gold medals for Brazil also secured Olympic bids for the country. Added to the bid for each gender the country was already guaranteed as the event host, this means Brazil will have two teams of each gender in Rio.