Germany’s Ludwig wins top individual 2016 World Tour award
Laura Ludwig reaches for the ball
Joining Ludwig in receiving two special season awards announced today by the FIVB 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 as the FIVB Sportswoman of the Year for the second straight season. Ludwig has now 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 as well as earning the 2016 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour season point championship, the Swatch Beach Volleyball FIVB World Tour Finals in Toronto, Canada and earning the most prize money of any team, male or female in 2016 FIVB international competition.
Kira Walkenhorst (left) and Laura Ludwig celebrate winning gold at the Swatch Beach Volleyball 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. In 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.
Brazil's Larissa Franca in action at the Gstaad Major
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 Jenings and Ross won five FIVB international gold medals as well as the bronze medal at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
USA’s 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.
Kerri Walsh Jennings and April Ross claimed gold at the Long Beach Grand Slam
Among the other 2016 FIVB award winners, Canada’s Heather Bansley was voted the FIVB Best Defensive Player for the second straight season.
Canada's Heather Bansley was singled out for her defensive skills
Brazil’s blazing youngster Eduarda ‘Duda’ Lisboa capped a remarkable season in FIVB international competition. The talented 18-year was 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 has now won five FIVB Age-Group World Championships.
Eduarda ‘Duda’ Lisboa and Elize Maia at the Olsztyn Grand Slam
Switzerland was one of four countries that saw two players voted 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.
Nadine Zumkehr (left) and Joana Heidrich claimed the Most Inspirational and Most Improved player awards
All-time season awards
Among the all-time FIVB Beach Volleyball women award winners, USA’s Walsh Jennings has a FIVB-record 25 season awards, Brazil’s Larissa now has 18 season awards, USA’s 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 2016 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour Award Winners
Most Outstanding Player – Laura Ludwig, Germany
Best Setter – Larissa Franca, Brazil
Best Hitter – Kerri Walsh Jennings, United States
Best Server – April Ross, United States
Best Rookie – Eduarda Lisboa, Brazil
Best Blocker – Kira Walkenhorst, Germany
Best Offensive Player – Larissa Franca, Brazil
Best Defensive Player – Heather Bansley, Canada
Most Improved Player – Joana Heidrich, Switzerland
Most Inspirational Player– Nadine Zumkehr, Switzerland
Sportswoman of the Year – Laura Ludwig, Germany
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