The world’s number one team
Christian Sorum and Anders Mol have packed a lot into their time competing on the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour and are now the world’s number one team and on course for a place in their first Olympic Games.
Sorum and Mol left Klagenfurt with a 5th place finish in 2016, but by the start of 2017 Mol was back playing volleyball in Belgium.
Halfway through the 2017 season, however, he returned to the beach and come the end of the year the pair had won their first World Tour medal, bronze at the Espinho 2-Star and Mol had been named Rookie of the Year.
The Norwegian duo are part of the Beachvolley Vikings squad that also includes Mol’s brother Hendrik and cousin, Mathias Berntsen.
The quartet are trained and supported by Mol’s father Kaare and uncle Jetmund Berntsen, as well as his mother Merita who represented Norway at Atlanta 1996 when beach volleyball made its Olympic debut.
“There are good and bad things about being in a team made up of family and friends,” Mol told beachmajorseries.com in 2017.
“Being completely honest with each other is one of the good things. We always want to improve and help one another out with nobody else getting in the way.
“This means we push each other every day in the fitness room, supporting each other when we have bad days and giving feedback as to how we can do better.”
The pair came through the ToppVolley boarding school in Sand in Norway’s southwest. It is a beach volleyball and volleyball players’ dream establishment where they combine school lessons with training and gym work.
Mol had also been in attendance during the Stavanger 2009 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships and once he started on the World Tour, he admitted that there were times he was left star-struck after mixing with his favourite players.
Their breakthrough year came in 2018. After winning silver at the Itapema 4-Star and bronze at the Baden 1-Star early in the season, once the European summer kicked-in they really found their form.
Sorum and Mol won the Gstaad 5-Star and CEV European Beach Volleyball Championships in July and added the Vienna 5-Star and Hamburg 2018 FIVB World Tour Finals gold in August. To round off the year they topped the podium at the Las Vegas 4-Star in October.
“What’s happening with us still seems unreal,” Sorum said at the time. “These last few months have been crazy and it’s great to end the year on a high.
“Now we have three weeks off and after that we head to Tenerife to start preparing for 2019. It’s an important season and we want to keep up the good results.”
After warm-weather training over the northern hemisphere winter the pair certainly did find their form at the Itapema 4-Star in May where they won gold and pocketed two more at the Jinjiang 4-Star and Ostrava 4-Star, and silver at the Warsaw 4-Star.
At the start of July, they played at Hamburg 2019, their first FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships. They finished with bronze, but quickly returned to winning ways at the Gstaad 5-Star, Tokyo 4-Star, Vienna 5-Star and the European Championships.
They finished the 2019 season with bronze at the Rome 2019 FIVB World Tour Finals, which proved to be their final tournament before the World Tour was put on hold due to the coronavirus outbreak.
The Norwegians made a triumphal return to the World Tour by winning the first of three 4-star events taking place in Cancun, Mexico on Tuesday. They are currently ranked first in the world in the FIVB Beach Volleyball Rankings and FIVB Olympic Rankings en route for their Olympic debuts at Tokyo 2020.
While they may have had to put off their Olympic ambitions for a year, expect Sorum and Mol to make a big impact this year, even if they remain characteristically modest.
“There are so many good teams out there,” said Mol after the pair won the Tokyo 4-Star, which doubled as the Olympic test event.
“It’s going to be hard for us to keep maintaining this level. I think Russia are really good, Brazil getting stronger and stronger. The Netherlands, USA. I think there are 15 teams that can win the Olympic Games right now.”