The 2009 SWATCH FIVB World Tour will break for over three weeks before Norway becomes the “centre of the Beach Volleyball universe” at the end of June in Stavanger for the US$1-million world championships.
The 2009 SWATCH FIVB World Championships presented by ConocoPhillips will be held June 25 through July 5 in Stavanger as the southwestern Norwegian port city hosts a SWATCH FIVB World Tour for the 11th-straight season on the docks in Vaagen Harbour where 48 men’s and 48 women’s teams will be competing.
The 2009 SWATCH FIVB World Championships will feature both pool play and single-elimination bracket competition where the women’s medal matches will be played July 4 followed by the men’s podium placement matches July 5. The winning teams will share the $60,000 first-place prizes along with receiving the most prestigious gold medals in the sport outside of the Olympics.
Nearly 50,000 tickets have already been sold for the 2009 SWATCH FIVB World Championships. A “World Championship Pass” is available which offers a 35% discount off the normal price of each ticket. A wide range of accommodations are still available (booking code JBG999). For more information, please visit the event web site at VM Stavanger 2009
A new women’s champion will be crowned at the 2009 edition of the world finals as three-time winners Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh of the United States will not return to defend their titles. May-Treanor has been sidelined since having Achilles surgery last October while preparing for the “Dancing with the Stars” competition.
Walsh gave birth to a boy (Joseph Michael) May 22 with her husband Casey Jennings at her side in a Los Angeles hospital as the delivery came ninth months after she and May-Treanor won their second Olympic gold medal in Beijing to validate their Athens 2004 Summer Games success.
This past Sunday in Poland, Jennings and Matt Fuerbringer played in their first-ever SWATCH FIVB World Tour gold medal match as the Americans dropped a 25-23 and 21-17 decision to Alison Cerutti and Harley Marques of Brazil. The title was Alison and Harley’s second this season as the Brazilians have been a constant on the SWATCH podium this year with medals in each of the four events.
With Alison and Harley one of the pre-event favorites to medal at the 2009 SWATCH FIVB World Championships, the Stavanger men’s field will feature three former world final winners as all three teams have Olympic Beach Volleyball medals to their credit.
Phil Dalhausser and Todd Rogers won the 2007 world finals in Switzerland where the Americans defeated Dmitri Barsouk and Igor Kolodinsky of Russia in the Gstaad gold medal match. Dalhausser and Rogers validated their 2007 success by claiming the Beijing 2008 Olympic gold medal where the Americans won a three-set finale over Brazilians Marcio Araujo and Fabio Magalhaes, who won the 2005 SWATCH FIVB World Championships in Berlin.
Emanuel Rego and Ricardo Santos, the winningest men’s team in SWATCH FIVB World Tour history, won the 2003 SWATCH FIVB World Championships in Rio de Janeiro before capturing the Athens 2004 Olympic gold medal. Fourth-place finishers at the 2007 worlds in Gstaad, Emanuel and Ricardo won the bronze medal in Beijing after losing to Brazilian rivals Marcio Araujo and Fabio in the Olympic semi-finals.
With the Chinese silver and bronze medal winners from the Beijing Olympics disbanded for the 2009 season, the women’s favorites will be the Brazilian pairs of Juliana Felisberta Silva/Larissa Franca and Talita Antunes/Maria Antonelli. Both teams have won two SWATCH FIVB World Tour gold medals this season. Talita Antonelli claimed their second title this past Sunday in Korea by posting a 22-20 and 21-16 win over Jen Kessy and April Ross of the United States.
Following the 2009 SWATCH FIVB World Championships, the SWATCH FIVB World Tour will stage four-straight Grand Slam events in Switzerland, Russia, France and Austria. With over $7.7-million in prize money this year, the 2009 SWATCH FIVB World Tour continues through the fall with the men’s final event in China and the women’s last stop in Thailand.