Lausanne, Switzerland, August 13, 2015 - With the promoters of next week’s ASICS World Series of Beach Volleyball honouring the sport’s upcoming 20th anniversary since becoming an Olympic sport with a Brazilian-themed barbecue, the celebration’s “first serve” will be Wednesday when the legendary pair of Emanuel Rego and Ricardo Santos take to the court to start their 100th international event together.
In addition to reaching the century mark for international starts, Emanuel and Ricardo’s first pool play match Wednesday in the third annual ASICS World Series of Beach Volleyball will be their 600th together as the Brazilian pair has teamed to post a 482-117 record for an 80.5 winning percentage.
As the 10th-ranked men’s team on the 2015 FIVB World Tour, Emanuel and Ricardo will be one of six Brazilian men’s teams competing in the US$800,000 ASICS World Series of Beach Volleyball that starts Tuesday in the United States with qualifying and concludes August 23 with the women’s and men’s gold medal match at the TrueCar Court at Alamitos Beach in Long Beach, Calif.
The legendary Brazilians have combined to win more FIVB Beach Volleyball crowns that any other team since the start of international competition in 1987 highlighted by Emanuel and Ricardo’s gold medal finishes at the Rio 2003 World Championships and the Athens 2004 Olympic Games.
The fourth of five Grand Slam events on the 2015 international calendar, the ASICS World Series of Beach Volleyball will be Emanuel and Ricardo’s 97th FIVB World Tour event. The pair’s other three international starts were at a 2005 challenger event in Argentina, a 2007 appearance at the PanAm Games in Brazil and an eight-team USA-Brazil challenge event in 2009 at Glendale, Arizona.
Emanuel and Ricardo rekindled their partnership last September in an effort to secure a spot in the beach volleyball competition at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games to be played on “iconic” Copacabana beach. Entering Long Beach, Emanuel and Ricardo rank as the third Brazilian men’s team behind Evandro Gonçalves/Pedro Solberg Alison Cerutti/Bruno Oscar Schmidt.
In their previous 99 international starts, Emanuel and Ricardo have compiled 35 gold medals, 61 podium placements and 69 “final four” finishes. Thirty-three (33) of the gold medal performances have been on the FIVB World Tour with other first-places at the Argentina challenger and the PanAm Games on Copacabana beach. In terms of winnings, Emanuel and Ricardo has teamed to win over $2-million together.
Emanuel and Ricardo began their partnership initially at the end of the 2002 season and continued playing together through the 2009 season. Starting in 2010, Emanuel and Ricardo joined with other partners in their quest for Olympic berths in the London 2012 Summer Games. Both were successful in their London bids as Emanuel netted the silver medal with Alison while Ricardo placed fifth with Pedro Cunha after being eliminated by eventual London champions Julius Brink and Jonas Reckermann of Germany.
Both Brazilians have placed on each spot on the Olympic podium as Emanuel and Ricardo were the bronze medal winners at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. While Emanuel stood on the Olympic podium’s second spot in London with Alison after losing to Brink and Reckermann in the finals, Ricardo garnered his silver medal at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games with ZeMarco deMelo.
As one of two players to compete in all five Olympics, Emanuel placed ninth at both the Atlanta 1996 with ZeMarco and Sydney 2009 with Jose Loiola. Emanuel is the only player to compete in the last 10 FIVB World Championships as he captured his first and three world titles with Loiola in 1999 and with Alison in 2011.
So let the celebration begin as the promoters of next week’s FIVB World Tour event honour the competitors from the first beach volleyball Olympics in Atlanta, including the inaugural gold medal teams of Americans Karch Kiraly/Kent Steffes and Brazilians Sandra Pires/Jackie Silva.
“It’s a celebration of the history of beach volleyball but more notably, 2016 will be 20 years at the Olympic Games so we’re going to look back at the first time being on the Olympic stage,” said Leonard Armato, the promoter of the ASICS World Series of Beach Volleyball. “We’re going to acknowledge the legends of the sport and honour those Olympians from the USA and Brazil that played and many others.”
So while the other beach volleyball legends are either retired or competing with other players, Emanuel and Ricardo will be the only team with Olympic medals playing together in Long Beach as the Brazilians celebrate their 100th international event together with a hope to improve their chances to the Rio 2016 Summer Games on Copacabana beach.