LONG BEACH, Calif., Aug. 29, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Just days after the Rio Closing Ceremonies, Olympic beach volleyball players descended on Long Beach, California, competing for the sports largest purse prize in the U.S. at the ASICS World Series of Beach Volleyball (WSOBV). Thousands cheered as they watched Rio bronze medalists Kerri Walsh Jennings and April Ross bounce back from an Olympic upset to capture gold after winning two sets over Spain's Liliana Fernandez and Elsa Baquerizo, 21-16, 21-16 in the final. The win marks the second time the duo have taken home gold at the event, in addition to winning one silver medial in 2015. Their match concluded with a medal ceremony and surprise appearance by NBA legend Shaquille O'Neal, who congratulated the two.
"We're always shooting for the gold medal and we put ourselves in the position we want and it's about executing when the time comes," said Walsh Jennings. "This is insane. We're in Long Beach and we've had this amazing tournament all week long and the fans have shown up every single day with love, and chanting, 'USA,' and wearing entire (USA) outfits."
On the men's side, USA's Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena faced off against Brazil's Pedro Solberg and Evandro Goncalves, a 6-foot-11 powerhouse whose blocking and serving aided the team in securing Brazil's 2-1 victory. Solberg and Goncalves won 21-19, 17-21, 15-9 giving the Brazilians their second gold medal of the season and marking the second time in less than two months that the team was able to claim victory over Dalhausser and Lucena in a final.
"Even after the Olympics where we didn't do what was expected, we are still strong and even after a hard moment we came back strong so I'm very happy for that," said Solberg, who captured the 17th title of his career. "I'm happy to see how this team can work even in tough situations."
The women's bronze medal went to Germany's Julia Sude and Chantal Laboureur, who toppled compatriots Katrin Holtwick and Ilka Semmler to secure their spot on the podium. On the men's side Janis Smedins and Aleksandrs Samoilovs of Lativa secured bronze after defeating Alex Ranghieri and Marco Caminati of Italy. In its fourth year, WSOBV marked the final event of the 2016 FIVB World Tour and again cemented its spot most prestigious and impactful beach volleyball event outside of the Olympic Games.
More than just a sports spectacle, WSOBV also featured the Fiat Concert Series featuring globetrotting DJ, producer Thomas Jack, along with Jillionaire, Branchez, Team Ezy and Filthy Gorgeous. Fans also got to see celebrities get into the action in an epic "Battle on the Beach" celebrity charity match hosted by Josh Hutcherson and Terrell Owens, which promoted Straight But Not Narrow, an organization Hutcherson supports.
"The growth of our event has been incredible. Last year our attendance was up nearly 20% and people all over the world tuned-in to watch the best in the sport compete at the highest level," said Leonard Armato, Founder and CEO of the ASICS World Series of Beach Volleyball. "Our goal with this event was to create a truly immersive festival environment that showcased the top athletes in the sport competing for the World Series title, integrated tribal participation through an open competition for the general public, threw a party on the beach with biggest names in EDM music and excited the crowds with a celebrity match that brought Hollywood to Long Beach. This sports themed, curated festival concept is incredibly content rich and represents the wave of the future for professional sporting events."
For more information about WSOBV, visit www.wsobv.com.
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