March 22, 2023
Feuer: Connecting the old beach volleyball (Bruno) to the new one.  Who is stepping?

For some purpose (it begins with M and ends with Y) how a few facet journey earlier than we go into the evaluation of the 2 Volleyball Worlds tournaments being held in Doha, the middle of the seaside volleyball universe for sport as of late? is a tribute to the lately retired Brazilian Bruno Oscar Schmidt, and in addition covers one of many weirdest tournaments within the historical past of this wildly satisfying sport.

Bruno was a central determine in one of the memorable matches I’ve ever seen, which happened on the finish of August 2010 (please bear with me for linking the previous with the current). Mercurial Benjamin in that Dutch coastal metropolis on the remaining of the match in The Hague, Netherlands (you by no means knew which Benjamin would present up day after day).

The opponents throughout the web have been an sudden crew, solely the Twenty first-placed American duo Kevin Wong and Casey Jennings. Actually not a lot was anticipated of them. And early within the match, sticking to his kind, they misplaced within the remaining spherical of the qualifiers to Brazilian journeyman Rhooney Ferramenta and Neilton Santos, and apparently on their lengthy detour to get again to America.

However on the way in which to the airport, one thing humorous occurred.

One of many groups scheduled to compete was withdrawn, and a “fortunate loser” was promoted to the principle draw. Jennings and Wong had a 1 in 8 “fortunate” likelihood. One among these eight groups was withdrawn first, however was unavailable. So Wong and Jennings have been nonetheless alive.

For the second election, it occurred that one in every of Jennings’ finest mates, Brazilian Pedro Solberg, volunteered for the election. Look, Jennings and Wong are right here. And as Wong mentioned, “I am going to always remember, it was a fateful weekend. We performed very freely as a result of we have been enjoying with the home’s undead cash.”

Given this new lease of life, Jennings and Wong then superior to the finals with 5 consecutive wins in the principle draw. For the second time within the match, Bruno and Benjamin have been ready for them.

Brazilian Bruno/FIVB photograph

Now, let’s be clear, aside from The Hague, the tip of August continues to be Northern Hemisphere summer season. There was a hurricane outdoors for the gold medal sport. Excessive winds of as much as 50 miles per hour. And rain on the facet. It is perhaps ice fishing climate, but it surely’s undoubtedly not for seaside volleyball.

Nonetheless, 23-year-old Bruno threw virtually each ball together with his hand.

Who does this?

I am undecided how he manages to try this as every set comes out clear regardless of a moist ball, spinning in each brutal wind and popping out of damp and frozen palms. And his footwork was phenomenal to place himself in a setting place. And because the Brazilians misplaced to the “Fortunate Losers” for the second time that weekend, a star was born in Bruno Oscar Schmidt.

One remaining observe concerning the tiny Brazilian. He was pretty much as good an athlete as anybody I’ve ever seen in any athletic endeavor. He’s respectful to his fellow gamers, referees, and disarming the followers, however above all meticulously sincere. If the opponent’s ball is kicked out of play, however Bruno sees the ball inside, it voids the referee’s resolution. Realizing that her ardour is to do the proper factor, she’s going to now transition into the comforting authorized career. We’ll miss the 2016 Olympic gold medalist and will certainly want him nicely.

Bruno has been terribly calm as an actor, which brings us full circle.

Like Bruno, Norwegians Anders Mol and Christian Query are likewise calm. Eight of their 12 matches within the two Doha tournaments went to 3 units. They gained all of it. Of the eight three-set matches, none of them even made it to the ultimate. No, the Volleyball Vikings have been break up in each championships. Their skill to shut matches is unmatched.

Anders Mol and Christian Query after successful the 2022 Professional Seaside Worlds/Volleyball World photograph

Nonetheless, the 21-year-old high-flying Swedish crew of David Ahman and Jonatan Hellvig is advancing at terrifying velocity and begins to drag on Superman’s cloak. Mol and Sorgum have a 3-1 benefit within the burgeoning rivalry, however each match has been thrilling. Whereas the Vikings play a extra “conventional” model of volleyball, the Swedes are the Flying Wallendas of the Volleyball World Tour, with their leap settings, misdirection, and ridiculous vertical jumps.

From now till Paris 2024 it ought to actually land in Norway-Sweden in each match. There isn’t a different crew at their stage.

The Brazilians appear a bit uninspired, Samba from Qatar and Tijan misplaced the plot and everybody else is both too outdated and peaked (Brouwer/Meeuwsen, Carambula/Ranghieri and Herrera/Gavira) or mercurial (Bryl/Losiak).

Herrera and Gavira have performed 159 tournaments collectively since 2009. Which means 14 years collectively! It will get stale. Paris will possible be Herrera’s sixth Olympic Video games. Does anybody else play seaside volleyball in Spain?

Brouwer and Meeuwsen performed 143 tournaments collectively, their first match collectively in 2008 (In case you have been questioning, Randy Stoklos and Sinjin Smith performed 239 as partnerships in a really totally different period, at a time when there have been at the very least twice as many tournaments as at the moment).

The underside line: There’s little or no new blood on the lads’s World Tour, aside from the Swedes. This creates a GREAT alternative.

Which brings me to Miles Partain.

He was 17 once I first spoke to him 4 years in the past and I requested him who his favourite participant on the Tour was. To say I used to be amazed could be an understatement. He talked about Alexander Huber, an Austrian journeyman. Miles impressed at 5-11 that Huber might combine with the massive boys, together with knocking out Jake Gibb and Casey Patterson on the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Properly, 4 years later and Miles is now on his approach to turning into one of many Goliaths.

Occasion. The one who in all probability left the UCLA males’s indoor crew this week to do something on the seaside has all of it. Clever, full scholar of the sport, analytical, calm, fearless and bodily gifted. He’s already on the subsequent stage and can get higher. Able to seize the chance NOW. It is partnered with Andy Benesh and that is pretty much as good because it will get for US massive guys proper now. The world is weak past the Norwegians and Swedes. Shock Partain and Benesh.

Whereas the lads’s battle for the gold medal in Paris could slender down to a couple groups with sensible photographs, the ladies’s is the alternative. It is free for everybody at this level.

The result of two Doha tournaments with largely the identical groups can’t be a greater rationalization. World Tour winners Kelly Cheng and Sara Hughes completed fifth in subsequent week’s second Doha. Following Cheng and Hughes, Ana Patricia and Duda additionally completed fifth per week later. The perfect competing crew total was the Dutch combo of Raisa Schoon and Katja Stam. They completed third within the World Tour Remaining and gained the Elite 16 occasion. Nonetheless, can they deal with the massive ones? To date, not so good. they have been 17pearl Ninth on the Tokyo Olympics and on the World Championships held in Rome final summer season. I admit they’re younger – Schoon 21, Stam 24 – however they aren’t but the Huge Sport Hunters they need to be.

By the way in which, if I did not know higher, I might have thought that Ana Patricia and Duda did not actually like one another. Their physique language tells the entire story. Sure, there are some perfunctory hand slaps in-game, however their video games lack pleasure. Ana Patricia is de facto gifted. A hand adjuster, an excellent blocker, a robust hitter. His problem is psychological sport. Generally she appears to be like like she’s controlling.

One crew that I believe has massive pluses are Julia Scoles and Betsi Flint. They’re flying slightly below the radar. Scoles is a giant hitter, key to the worldwide tour, and Flint by no means beats himself and is fairly crafty. Take note of these two. They didn’t play in Doha, so that they began barely behind their direct rivals. Flint will certainly must take the subsequent step in his profession NOW. The chance is there.

I am apprehensive about Taryn Kloth and Kristen Nuss. Nuss could also be the perfect 5-6 participant ever, however his margin of error may be very small. His photographs should be extraordinarily exact each sport, and that places a whole lot of stress. After all, Kloth will take any serve except he picks up the one ball and hits it. It is a crew you will actually need to assist, however the highway to Paris is unquestionably stuffed with potholes.

Canadian Sarah Pavan could have reached the highest. Theoretically, given Bukovec’s peak, youth, jumps, and court docket protection, his partnership with Sophie Bukovec may appear promising, however Pavan is not the participant from just a few years in the past.

The largest thriller is how nicely will Brandie Wilkerson and Melissa Humana Paredes’ different Canadian partnership play out? MHP has been an excellent defender for a really very long time. However has he misplaced a step? Brandie has nice steepness and a giant block, however now there are greater blocks on the market. So is Katja Stam 6-4 and Kloth. 6-3 as Tanja Huberli, Joanna Heidrich. Kelly Cheng 6-2. Brandy? 5-10. It offers up a whole lot of verticality there.

The Olympics is unquestionably an important and distinguished match each 4 years. However the perfect? Not potential. There may be a whole lot of competitors within the 24-team Olympic match, which has a small begin, with a most of two groups per nation.

The Paris run will likely be thrilling as at all times. And it is a lot tougher to win the World Championship with my cash, with a 48-team draw and a most of 4 groups per nation.

If you wish to see the perfect occasion on the planet, it will likely be October 6-15 in Tlaxacala, Mexico.

Lengthy-time seaside volleyball participant, journalist and sports activities fan, Tom Feuer is a vibrant sporting occasion government producer/producer with a profession. this contains stops on Fox Sports activities, Turner Sports activities, ESPN and Nike.
Feuer was additionally a dwell occasion Producer for the 14 Winter/Summer time Olympic Video games,11 of them are for NBC. She was one of many seaside volleyball producers on the 2016 Rio Olympics.

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