Phil Dalhausser is fifth U.S. man to win 100 beach volleyball titles

Phil Dalhausser, Nick Lucena
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Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena remain perfect since beach volleyball’s return amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The 40-year-olds won their second AVP Champions Cup tournament in as many weeks, giving the 2008 Olympic champion Dalhausser his 100th career tournament title.

They beat fellow Tokyo Olympic hopefuls Taylor Crabb and Jake Gibb in a second straight Sunday final, this time 21-9, 21-15 in Long Beach, Calif.

“I’m just grateful that I can make a living playing the sport, and to have 100 pro wins, that’s pretty darn cool,” Dalhausser said on Amazon Prime.

Earlier, April Ross and Alix Klineman won a second straight women’s title, beating Canadians Sarah Pavan and Melissa Humana-Paredes 21-15, 21-19 in a battle of the world’s top two teams. NBCSN airs coverage of the finals on Thursday at 10 p.m. ET.

Dalhausser became the seventh U.S.  player, and fifth man, to reach 100 titles, according to Bvbinfo.com. The leaderboard:

1. Karch Kiraly (148)
2. Sinjin Smith (139)
3. Kerri Walsh Jennings (135)
4. Randy Stoklos (122)
5. Misty May-Treanor (112)
6. Kent Steffes (110)
7. Phil Dalhausser (100)

Dalhausser owns 59 AVP titles. Most came with 2008 Olympic champion partner Todd Rogers before they broke up after the 2012 London Games. The last two with Lucena came on consecutive weekends on the Long Beach Convention and Entertainment Center parking lot without fans and with many health and safety measures.

“It’s been about the same, two little angry guys I’m dealing with,” the 6-foot-9 Dalhausser joked of Lucena, his first partner with whom he reunited, and Rogers. Dalhausser said last year that he plans to retire from international play after the Tokyo Olympics, which have since been postponed to 2021.

The three-week AVP Champions Cup marks the first three top-level beach volleyball tournaments since March.

Dalhausser and Lucena, Gibb and Crabb and Tri Bourne and Crabb’s older brother, Trevor, will battle next year for two U.S. Olympic men’s spots.

Dalhausser and Lucena rank third more than halfway through qualifying, but they still have one more tournament to count, while the other teams can only count a result in place of a worse previous result.

Dalhausser and Lucena would both break the record of oldest Olympic beach volleyball player in history, according to Olympedia.org. As would the 44-year-old Gibb. And Walsh Jennings, 41.

AVP results do not count toward Olympic qualifying. The schedule has not been set for the resumption of top-level international tournaments that count in Olympic qualifying.

MORE: The team that plans to end Kerri Walsh Jennings’ Olympic career

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Correction: An earlier version of this post didn’t specify that the career wins list didn’t include international players.

Saudi Arabia to host 2029 Asian Winter Games

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Saudi Arabia will host the Asian Winter Games in 2029 in mountains near the $500 billion futuristic city project Neom.

The Olympic Council of Asia on Tuesday picked the Saudi candidacy that centers on Trojena that is planned to be a year-round ski resort by 2026.

“The deserts & mountains of Saudi Arabia will soon be a playground for Winter sports!” the OCA said in a statement announcing its decision.

Saudi sports minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisal said the kingdom’s winter sports project “challenges perception” in a presentation of the plan to OCA members.

“Trojena is the future of mountain living,” the minister said of a region described as an area of about 60 square kilometers at altitude ranging from 1,500 to 2,600 meters.

The Neom megaproject is being fund by the Saudi sovereign wealth vehicle, the Public Investment Fund.

Saudi Arabia also will host the Asian Games in 2034 in Riyadh as part of aggressive moves to build a sports hosting portfolio and help diversify the economy from reliance on oil.

A campaign to host soccer’s 2030 World Cup is expected with an unprecedented three-continent bid including Egypt and Greece.

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Jim Redmond, who helped son Derek finish 1992 Olympic race, dies

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Jim Redmond, who helped his injured son, Derek, finish his 1992 Olympic 400m semifinal, died at age 81 on Sunday, according to the British Olympic Association, citing family members.

At the 1992 Barcelona Games, Derek pulled his right hamstring 15 seconds into his 400m semifinal, falling to the track in anguish.

He brushed off help from officials, got up and began limping around the track. About 120 meters from the finish line, he felt the presence of an uncredentialed man who rushed down the stadium stairs, dodged officials and said, “We started this together, and we’re going to finish this together,” according to Olympedia.org.

“As I turned into the home straight, I could sense this person was about to try and stop me,” Derek said in an NBC Olympics profile interview before the 2012 London Games. “I was just about to get ready to sort of fend them off, and then I heard a familiar voice of my dad. He said, ‘Derek, it’s me. You don’t need to do this.'”

Derek said he shouted to his dad that he wanted to finish the race.

“He was sort of saying things like, ‘You’ve got nothing to prove. You’re a champion. You’ll come back. You’re one of the best guys in the world. You’re a true champion. You’ve got heart. You’re going to get over this. We’ll conquer the world together,'” Derek remembered. “I’m just sort of saying, ‘I can’t believe this is happening.'”

At one point, Derek noticed stadium security, not knowing who Jim was, having removed guns from their holsters.

“It’s the only time I’ve ever heard my dad use bad language,” Derek said. “He just goes, ‘Leave him alone, I’m his father.'”

Derek told himself in that moment, “I’m going to finish this race if it’s the last race I ever run.” It turned out to be the last 400m race of his career, after surgery and 18 months of rehab were not enough to yield a competitive comeback, according to Sports Illustrated.

Derek had missed the 1988 Seoul Games after tearing an Achilles, reportedly while warming up for his opening race. He looked strong in Barcelona, winning his first-round heat and quarterfinal.

“I’d rather be seen to be coming last in the semifinal than not finish in the semifinal,” he said, “because at least I can say I gave it my best.”