Americans & Australians win last 2019 event this week in history


Australia's Mariafe Artacho del Solar (left) and Taliqua Clancy after claiming their sixth FIVB World Tour gold medal on November 17, 2019, in Chetumal, Mexico.

Lausanne, Switzerland, November 15, 2020 - A year ago this week in Mexico, the teams of Mariafe Artacho del Solar/Taliqua Clancy of Australia and Taylor Crabb/Jake Gibb of the United States won the last FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour event of the 2019 calendar year.

For the Australians, it was their most recent appearance together on the international circuit due to the pandemic. Artacho del Solar and Clancy claimed six-straight wins in Chetumal highlighted by a three-set gold medal victory on November 17, 2019 over Wang Fan and Xia Xinyi of China.

The gold medal was the sixth for the Artacho del Solar/Clancy partnership as the pair finished the 2019 calendar year with a 36-10 match mark (78.2 winning percentage) with five podium placements and six semifinal appearances in eight FIVB events. The Aussies also captured a gold medal in Poland before claiming the bronze medal three weeks later at the 2019 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships in Hamburg, Germany.

At 43 years, nine months and 12 days on November 17, 2019, Gibb surpassed fellow American John Hyden (41 years, eight months and 15 days) as the oldest player to win an FIVB World Tour event. Hyden accomplished the feat on June 22, 2014 with Tri Bourne when the pair topped the podium in Berlin, Germany.

Jake Gibb and Taylor Crabb top the podium in Chetumal in 2019.

Gibb teamed with Taylor Crabb to upset top-seeded Alexander Brouwer and Robert Meeuwsen of the Netherlands in the three-set gold medal match in the Mexican city to secure their first World Tour medal as a pair. Bourne and Crabb’s brother (Trevor) also placed on the Chetumal podium by winning the bronze medal.

Playing in eleven events in 2019, Gibb and Taylor Crabb finished the calendar year well by winning 10 of their last 13 matches as the American compiled a 28-19 match mark highlighted by the Chetumal victory and a fourth-place at the FIVB World Tour Finals in Rome.

Rio 2016 Summer Games and 2017 World Championship gold medal winner Kira Walkenhorst is one of eight beach volleyball Olympians celebrating birthdays during the November 15-21 time period.  Walkenhorst, who turns 30 on Wednesday, won 11 of her 12 FIVB gold medals with Laura Ludwig with the last podium-topping finish at the 2017 Vienna World Championships.

Other World Tour gold medal winners with birthdays this week are American Stein Metzger (turning 48 on Tuesday) and Canadian Ben Saxton (32 on Saturday). An Athens 2004 participant, Metzger claimed two FIVB titles with Kevin Wong in 2001 (Gstaad) and 2002 (Espinho) before collecting the silver medal at the 2003 World Championships in Rio with Dax Holdren.  

Saxton, who placed ninth at the Rio 2016 Olympics with Chaim Schalk after being eliminated by Brouwer and Meeuwsen, teamed with Grant O’Gorman to win a 2017 World Tour stop in Sydney, Australia. Saxton and O’Gorman also placed second last summer at an FIVB event in Edmonton, Canada.

Also celebrating birthdays this week with Olympic credentials are Greece’s Pavlos Beligratis (43 on Monday), Dutchman Bram Ronnes (42 on Tuesday), Spaniard Fabio Diez (55 on Wednesday), Italian Daniela Gattelli (45 on Thursday) and Venezuelan Jesus Villafane (34 on Thursday).

Gattelli is a two-time Olympian by placing ninth and fifth with Lucilla Perrotta at the Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004 Olympic Games. The Italians played in more FIVB World Tour events together (101) than any other men’s or women’s teams from their country.

Daniella Gattelli of Italy reaches for the ball.

Diez placed fifth at the Sydney 2000 Olympics with Javier Bosma as the Spaniards upset Brazilians Jose Loiola and Emanuel Rego before being eliminated by Germans Jorg Ahmann and Axel Hager. Beligratis placed 19th at the Athens 2004 Olympics, Ronnes 17th with Emiel Boersma at Beijing 2008 and Villafane 19th at London 2012 with Igor Hernandez.

Here are the FIVB gold medal winners for the November 15-21 time period.

November 15
In 2008, Benjamin Insfran and Harley Marques of Brazil won the Sanya Open. It was the second and final FIVB World Tour win for the team.

Harley Marques (left) and Benjamin Insfran of Brazil top the 2008 Sanya men's podium.

In 2019, Jedrzej Brozyniak and Piotr Janiak of Poland won the Doha Open. It was the first of two FIVB World Tour wins for the team.

Doha gold for Poland's Jedrzej Brozyniak and Piotr Janiak.

November 16
In 2008, Jen Kessy and April Ross of the United States won the Sanya Open. It was the third of 10 FIVB World Tour wins for the team.

More Sanya gold for Jen Kessy (left) and April Ross of the United States.

November 17
In 2019, Crabb and Gibb won the Chetumal Open. It was the first and only FIVB World Tour win for the team.
In 2019, Artacho del Solar and Clancy won the Chetumal Open It was the sixth and final FIVB World Tour win for the team.

Forty something Jake Gibb of the United States takes a break in Chetumal before becoming the oldest men's player to win an FIVB World Tour event.

November 19
In 1995, Barbra Fontana and Linda Hanley of the United States won the Santos Open. It was the first of two FIVB World Tour wins for the team.

November 20
In 1994, Monica Rodrigues and Adriana Samuel of Brazil won the Santos Open. It was the first of five FIVB World Tour wins for the team.
In 2005, Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh Jennings of the United States won the Cape Town Open. It was the 21st of 40 FIVB World Tour wins for the team.

Misty May-Treanor serving the Mikasa at the 2005 Cape Town Open.