This week in World Tour history - April 5-11


Adriana Behar (left) and Shelda Bede of Brazil in 2007

Lausanne, Switzerland, April 5, 2020 - Five Olympians celebrate their birthdays this week as the days in the first full week of April in 2020 also featured the first-ever FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour event in Mexico 21 years ago in Acapulco.

In the first double gender qualifying event for the Sydney 2000 Olympics and the season opening tournament for women on the 1999 World Tour calendar, the legendary Brazilian tandem of Adriana Behar/Shelda Bede topped the women's podium in Acapulco on April 11 before Americans Bill Boullianne and Ian Clark stunned FIVB followers by winning the men's gold medal.

Shelda and Adriana, who won 31 World Tour gold medals in 120 FIVB appearances together, topped an international podium for the 11th time by posting a 15-11 side out scoring win in 30 minutes over Pauline Manser and Kerri Pottharst of Australia on the Playa Tamarindos.

Shelda Bede (left) and Adriana Behar at the Rio 2016 Olympics after winning gold medals in Acapulco on April 11, 1999

In the April 11 nightcap before more than 10,000 fans, Boullianne and Clark upset Los Angeles 1997 FIVB world champions Rogerio 'Para' Ferreira and Guilherme Marques of Brazil 15-11 in the 51-minute men's finale for their only World Tour gold medals.

The 1999 Acapulco Open was the first major international volleyball or beach volleyball event to be held in Mexico since 1974 when the NORCECA member federation staged the FIVB Volleyball World Championships in Mexico City.

Two other World Tour double gender events were staged on April 11 in Thailand at Satun in 2018 and 2019 where men's pairs from the host country (Nuttanon Inkiew/Sedtawat Padsawud) and Ukraine (Denys Denysenko/Vladyslav Iemelianchyk) topped the podiums along with women's gold medal tandems from the United States (Caitlin Ledoux/Emily Stockman) and Chinese Taipei (Nai-Han Kou/Pi Hsin Liu).

The women's duo of Lara Dykstra/Cassie House of the United States won a 2019 FIVB World Tour event on April 7 in Battambang, Cambodia while the men's team of Adrian Carambula/Alex Ranghieri of Italy secured a 2016 gold medal in Qatar on April 8 in Doha.

Headlining the birthdays for the week of April 5-11 is three-time Latvian Olympian and 13-time FIVB World Tour winner Aleksandrs Samoilovs, who turns 35 on April 6.  Nicknamed the "Lion King", Samoilovs has competed in the past three Olympics with Martins Plavins (Beijing 2008), Ruslans Sorokins (London 2012) and Janis Smedins (Rio 2016).

Read more: Lion King roars into 35th birthday

Aleksandrs Samoilovs (right) with Latvian partner Janis Smedins

Other beach volleyball Olympians with birthdays this week are Beate Bühler (57, Atlanta 1996 with Danja Musch) of Germany on April 8, Juan Virgen (33, Rio 2016 with Lombardo Ontiveros) of Mexico on April 9 and April 10 celebrators Judith Deister Augoustides (45, Beijing 2008 with Vitalina Nel) of South Africa and Katrin Holtwick (36, London 2012 with Ilka Semmler).

Mexico's Juan Virgen being introduced before a centre court match at the 2019 FIVB World Championships in Hamburg, Germany