Olympic champs lead field as World Tour opens for business


Alison (left) and Bruno are aiming to start 2017 in winning form

Lausanne, Switzerland, January 10, 2017 – Olympic champions Alison Cerutti and Bruno Schmidt will try to pick up where they left off when the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour begins with the Fort Lauderdale Major Series event that runs from February 7-12.

The Brazilian pair enjoyed a stellar 2016 in which their gold at the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympic Games was the highlight and they topped the podium at the Toronto 2016, FIVB World Tour Finals.

One half of the women’s Olympic champions will be in action in Fort Lauderdale. Kira Walkenhorst will play alongside Julia Grossner due to Laura Ludwig’s shoulder injury ruling her out of action. 

The team the German duo beat in the Rio 2016 women’s final will both be in action with their new partners. Agatha Bednarczuk will play alongside Eduarda Santos Lisboa, while Barbara Seixas has teamed up with Fernanda Alves. 

Kerri Walsh-Jennings and April Ross will lead the USA women’s hopes of a home victory. They ended 2016 with bronze from Rio 2016 and gold at the Long Beach Grand Slam and reached the quarterfinals of the World Tour Finals.

Also aiming to impress their home crowd are Brooke Sweat and Summer Ross and Lauren Fendrick and Sarah Hughes, who will feature in a World Tour event as duos for the first time. 

They aren’t alone in making their debuts as a team as Joana Heidrich and Anouk Verge-Depre from Switzerland and Germany’s Maggie Kozuch and Karla Borger do so too. The Netherlands' Manon Flier-Nummerdor meanwhile will be taking her first steps in beach volleyball alongside London 2012 and Rio 2016 Olympian Marleen van Iersel, having moved from volleyball over the winter.  

Rio 2016 men’s silver medallists Daniele Lupo and Paolo Nicolai will lead Italy’s hopes, along with their fellow Italian Olympians Alex Ranghieri and Adrian Carambula and Aleksandrs Samoilovs and Janis Smedins will begin the defence of their FIVB World Tour title.

It represented a bitter-sweet end to 2016 for the Latvians, after they were left disappointed by their showing at Rio 2016, where they failed to progress beyond the group stage.

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