2016 Review: Outstanding Ludwig illuminates World Tour

 

Lausanne, Switzerland, December 23, 2016 – Another memorable year on the women’s Fédération Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB) Beach Volleyball World Tour is how the 2016 season will long be remembered. What actually began in October of 2015 in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico ended in Toronto, Canada at the Swatch FIVB World Tour Finals in September of 2016.

Germany’s Laura Ludwig topped a singularly spectacular season by being voted the winner of two season awards including the 2016 FIVB Women’s Most Outstanding Player.

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Joining Ludwig in receiving two special season awards in 20016 was Brazil’s Larissa Franca.

Receiving one award each in the voting for the 2016 season, which started with three events at the end of 2015, were Brazil’s Eduarda ‘Duda’ Lisboa, Canada’s Heather Bansley, Germany’s Kira Walkenhorst, Switzerland’s Joana Heidrich, Switzerland’s Nadine Zumkehr, USA’s April Ross and USA’s Kerri Walsh Jennings.

In voting by players, coaches, referees and officials on the prestigious international pro beach volleyball circuit, Ludwig, 30, was selected as the women’s 2016 FIVB Most Outstanding Player for the first time as well as being honoured in 2016 and in the FIVB Sportswoman of the year category for the second straight season. Ludwig now has received seven career FIVB season awards.

Germany’s Ludwig and Kira Walkenhorst teamed to have a superlative season in 2016, winning the gold medal at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil as well as earning the 2016 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour season point championship, the Swatch FIVB World Tour Finals in Toronto, Canada, the European Championship and the German championship while earning the most prize money of any team, male or female during the 2016 FIVB international competition.


Laura Ludwig and Kira Walkenhorst celebrate winning the Swatch FIVB World Tour Finals in Toronto

Walkenhorst, who lives in Hamburg, Germany where Ludwig also resides, was voted the 2016 FIVB Best Blocker for her third career FIVB post-season award. In 2016, the Ludwig/Walkenhorst duo won a season-high seven FIVB gold medals, compiled a FIVB season-high 5,980 season points and earned a FIVB season-high $382,375 in season earnings.

Individually, Ludwig, a three-time German Olympian in beach volleyball, now has nine career FIVB international gold medals and has earned $1,007,676 in 131 career FIVB international tournaments.

Brazil’s Larissa, 34, was voted as the 2016 FIVB Best Offensive Player and the 2016 FIVB Best Setter to give her 18 career FIVB post-season awards. For her illustrious FIVB career, Larissa has played in 142 events over 14 seasons with a FIVB-record 59 gold medals and a FIVB all-time high of $1,800,235 in career earnings.

For her FIVB-record 25th career FIVB season award, USA’s Walsh Jennings, 38, was honoured as the 2016 FIVB Best Hitter. As a team, Walsh Jennings/A. Ross won five FIVB international gold medals as well as the bronze medal at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

USA’s A. Ross was voted the 2016 FIVB Best Server, her eighth FIVB season award and the fourth time in the last five years she has been recognized for her serving skills.

Among the other 2016 FIVB award winners, Canada’s Heather Bansley was voted the FIVB Best Defensive Player for the second straight season.

Brazil’s blazing youngster Eduarda ‘Duda’ Lisboa capped a remarkable season in FIVB international competition. The remarkably talented 18-year old was easily voted as the 2016 FIVB Top Rookie.

Completing a stunning season playing on the FIVB World Tour with veteran Elize Maia, Duda won two gold medals while earning her first FIVB World Tour season award. Playing with different teammates in each tournament, Duda also won the gold medal at both the 2016 FIVB U21 World Championship and the 2016 FIVB U19 World Championship.  She now has already won five FIVB age-group World Championships.

Switzerland was one of four countries that saw more than one player voted for FIVB season awards. Retiring Olympian Nadine Zumkehr was voted the 2016 FIVB Most Inspirational award and her teammate Joana Heidrich was voted the 2016 FIVB Most Improved Player. It was the first season awards for both players.

All-time season awards

Among the all-time FIVB Beach Volleyball women award winners, USA’s Walsh Jennings now has a FIVB-record 25 season awards, Brazil’s Larissa now has 18 season awards, USA’s A. Ross now has eight total awards, Germany’s Ludwig now has seven total awards, Germany’s Walkenhorst now has three season awards and Canada’s Bansley has two. Brazil’s Lisboa, Switzerland’s Heidrich and Switzerland’s Zumkehr each earned their first FIVB World Tour season award in 2016.

Women's points/earnings
For the women after 19 regular season events on the final 2016 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour standings, Germany’s Ludwig/Walkenhorst won the 2016 season point championship, marking the first time in the history of the FIVB World Tour that it has been won by a team from Germany. Germany’s Ludwig/Walkenhorst, who also won the gold medal at this year’s Rio Olympics, stand on the top rung on the ladder with 5,980 points in only 12 events. Finishing second with 5,530 was USA’s Kerri Walsh Jennings/April Ross in just 10 events, third with 5,440 was Germany’s Julia Sude/Chantal Labourer while tied for fourth with 4,700 points each were Germany’s Karla Borger/Brita Buthe and Germany’s Katrin Holtwick/Ilka Semmler.



Sixth was Brazil’s Talita Antunes/Larissa Franca with 4,820 in 10 events, Seventh with 4,670 points was Spain’s Elsa Baquerizo/Liliana Fernandez, eighth with 4,350 points was Switzerland’s Isabelle Forrer/Anouk Vergé-Dépré and  ninth with 4,330 points was Argentina’s Ana Gallay/Georgina Klug.

In the final 2016 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour women’s earnings after 20 events including the Swatch FIVB World Tour Finals, Germany’s Laura Ludwig/Kira Walkenhorst finished in the top spot with $382,375 in earnings in just 13 events with seven gold medals while second was USA’s Kerri Walsh Jennings/April Ross with $283,000 in just 11 events with five gold medals, third with $241,000 in only 11  events  and two gold medals was Brazil’s Talita Antunes/Larissa Franca, fourth with $180,250 and one gold medal was Germany’s Julia Sude/Chantal Laboureur  and fifth was Switzerland’s Joana Heidrich/Nadine Zumkner with $161,150.

Sixth with $155,875 was Germany’s Karla Borger/Britta Buthe, seventh with $152,500 was Spain’s Elsa Baquerizo/Liliana Fernandez, eighth with $127,000 was Canada’s Heather Bansley/Sarah Pavan, ninth  Switzerland’s Isabelle Forrer/Anouk Vergé-Dépré with $124,700 and 10th was Germany’s Katrin Holtwick/Elka Semmler with $116,525.

Women's final fours
In 20 women’s FIVB international events to date on the 2016 calendar including the Swatch FIVB World Tour Finals, 17 countries earned at least one final four finish. Leader in final four placements with 18 was Germany (seven gold medals, one silver medal, seven bronze medals, three fourth places) while second with 17 was Brazil (four gold medals, six silver medals, three bronze medals, four fourth place finishes). Third with 11 was the United States (five gold medals, two silver medals, three bronze medals, one fourth place finish), fourth with nine was Switzerland (two gold medals, two silver medals, three bronze medals, two fourth place finishes) and tied for fifth with four final four placements each were Argentina (four fourth place finishes) and the Netherlands (one silver, three fourth place finishes).

Tied for seventh with three final four placements each were Italy (one silver medal, one bronze, one fourth place) and Spain (two silver medals, one bronze medal) and ninth with two final four finishes was Canada (one bronze medal, one silver medal). Tied for 10th with one final four finish each were Austria (one silver medal), Australia (one fourth place), China (one silver medal), Czech Republic (one gold medal), Finland (one silver medal), Poland (one silver medal), Slovak Republic (one bronze medal) and Vanuatu (one fourth place).

Women's winning percentage/match wins
Based on percentage, statistically, in women’s action after 20 events on the final 2016 FIVB World Tour calendar with a minimum of 35 matches played, the leader at 87.8% was USA’s Kerri Walsh Jennings/April Ross (65-9), second at 87.3% was Germany’s Laura Ludwig/Kira Walkenhorst (69-10), third at 82.8% was Brazil’s Talita Antunes/Larissa Franca (53-11), fourth at 73.8% was Brazil’s Agatha Bednarczuk/Barbara Seixas (31-11) and fifth at 72.6% was Germany’s Karla Borger/Britta Buthe (53-20).



Sixth at 70.9% was Germany’s Julia Sude/Chantal Laboureur (61-25), seventh at 68.3% was Canada’s Sarah Pavan/Heather Bansley (28-13), eighth at 67.1% was Switzerland’s Joana Heidrich/Nadine Zumkehr (47-23) and ninth at 65.7% was Brazil’s Eduarda Lisboa/Elise Maia (44-23).

For the women in match wins following 20 events that completed the 2016 FIVB calendar, leader with 69 match wins was Germany’s Laura Ludwig/Kira Walkenhorst (69-10) while second with 65 match wins was USA’s Kerri Walsh Jennings/April Ross (65-9), third with 61 match wins is Germany’s Julia Sude/Chantal Laboureur tandem (61-25) and tied for fourth with 53 match wins were Brazil’s Talita Antunes/Larissa Franca (53-11) and Germany’s Karla Borger/Britta Buthe (53-20).  

Sixth with 52 match wins was Germany’s Katrin Holtwick/Ilka Semmler (52-38), seventh with 47 match wins was Switzerland’s Joana Heidrich/Nadine Zumkher (47-23), eighth with 46 wins was Argentina’s Ana Gallay/Georgina Klug (46-37), ninth with 45 victories was Switzerland’s Isabelle Forrer/Anouk Vergé-Dépré (45-36) and tied for 10th with 44 match wins each in 2016 were Brazil’s Eduarda Lisboa/Elize Maia (44-23) and Spain’s Liliana Fernandez/Elsa Barquerizo (44-29).

Women's gold
On the FIVB women’s international season scorecard eight different teams from five countries won at least one gold medal in 2016. Leading the way with seven gold medals in 2016 was Germany’s Laura Ludwig/Kira Walkenhorst (Puerto Vallarta, Antalya, Hamburg, Olsztyn, Klagenfurt, Rio de Janeiro-Olympics and Toronto). Winning five gold medals in 2016 was USA’s Kerri Walsh Jennings/April Ross (Rio de Janeiro-Grand Slam, Fuzhou, Cincinnati, Moscow and Long Beach). Winning two gold medals each were Brazil’s Talita Antunes/Larissa Franca (Vitoria and Gstaad) and Eduarda Lisboa/Elize Maia (Meceio and Fortaleza). Winning one gold medal each were Czech Republic’s Barbora Hermannova/Marketa Slukova (Antalya), Germany’s Julia Sude/Chantal Laboureur (Porec), Switzerland’s Isabelle Forrer/Anouk Vergé-Dépré (Xiamen) and Switzerland’s Joana Heidrich/Nadine Zumkehr (Sochi).

Rio 2016 Olympic Games

From August 6-17 all eyes were on Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, which hosted the spectacular 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

Germany’s Laura Ludwig/Kira Walkenhorst continued their storybook season by winning the gold medal. Claiming the silver medal was Brazil’s Agatha Bednarczuk/Barbara Seixas while earning the bronze medal was USA’s Kerri Walsh Jennings/April Ross by defeating Brazil’s Talita Antunes/Larissa Franca who finished in fourth place.

Growing history
The $500,000 Swatch FIVB World Tour Finals in Canada that concluded the 2016 season was the 351st men’s tournament since the FIVB began play in 1987 and the 312th FIVB women’s tournament since their competition started in 1992.