Norway, Brazil win beach volleyball world titles; bronze match stopped due to injury

Anders Mol, Christian Sorum
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Norwegians Anders Mol and Christian Sorum became the first men to follow an Olympic beach volleyball title with a world title the next year.

The Volley Vikings beat Brazilians Renato and Vitor Felipe 21-15, 21-16 in Sunday’s final in Rome to complete their collection of major titles — Olympics, world championships, European championships and World Tour Finals.

“We’re living a dream right now, and we’ve been dreaming about winning the world championship since we were little kids watching Stavanger [in 2009] for the first time,” Mol said, according to the FIVB. “Our partnership is still kind of recent. But now we have some titles under our belts and it’s still really hard to realize for us what it is that we’re living, because this is just a dream.”

In the women’s final, Duda and Ana Patricia beat Canadians Sophie Bukovec and Brandie Wilkerson 21-17, 21-19 to put Brazil back on the top step of the podium in one of its national sports after its worst Olympic showing ever.

Duda and Ana Patricia and Mol and Sorum each dropped one set in eight matches en route to gold medals.

In a bronze-medal match in Rome, Swiss Olympic bronze medalist Joana Heidrich screamed in pain after a serve, suffering a dislocated shoulder that caused her and partner Anouk Verge-Depre to forfeit while up 21-16, 10-7 over Germans Svenja Muller and Cinja Tillmann.

“After long clarifications in the hospital, the shoulder is back in,” Heidrich posted on social media. “I will report to you when I have recovered.”

Americans Chaim Schalk and Theo Brunner dropped their bronze-medal match 15-21, 21-17, 15-11 to Brazilians Andre and George.

The U.S. won zero medals for the fourth time in 13 biennial world championships. The U.S. won at least one medal in all seven Olympics with beach volleyball.

April Ross and Alix Klineman, who took gold in Tokyo, did not compete at worlds. Klineman has been sidelined since January shoulder surgery. Ross originally entered worlds with Emily Day, then was replaced two weeks before the tournament began due to injury.

Brazil, the other longtime beach power, reasserted itself at these world championships by taking half of the available medals.

In Tokyo, the nation didn’t put a team in one of the Olympic beach volleyball finals for the first time in history. It didn’t put a team in a semifinal, either. At the last worlds in 2019, Brazil went medal-less at the biennial championships for the first time in history.

Brazil, known to change its teams to from Olympics to Olympics, did so again after Tokyo.

Duda, who played with 2016 Olympic silver medalist Agatha in Tokyo, teamed at worlds with Ana Patricia, who paired with Rebecca in Tokyo. Ana Patricia and Rebecca blew a one-set lead over Heidrich and Verge-Depre in the Olympic quarterfinals.

“I decided to have this ‘Believe’ tattoo on my arm after the Olympics last year because it was a difficult moment for me,” Ana Patricia said Sunday, according to the FIVB. “I wanted to have something that would always remind me that we need to believe in ourselves before anyone else does. Today, it couldn’t make any more sense.”

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