Lausanne, 1 February 2008 – It’s a long and winding road which will lead the world’s best 48 Beach Volleyball teams to Beijing. The Olympic Qualification process started last year and will continue in 2008 with the upcoming 2008 FIVB SWATCH World Tour, which will have its opening in Adelaide (25-30 March). The rules are simple: each pair is free to play in the events they wish to get the best 8 results to compose the ranking. They can select any tournament of the SWATCH FIVB World Tour 2007 and 2008, from last year’s season until next July 20 (finals of the double gender Marseille Open). Even one of the two European Championship masters held over the 2007 and 2008 can be counted on to win Olympic points. The best 24 Women’s and 24 Men’s pairs will know their Olympic schedule directly in Gstaad, when the drawing of lots will take place on 26 July to compose the pools for Beijing. No more than two pairs for each gender per country are allowed to entry the list, which adds a fascinating National fight to the amazing International battle.
The complete Provisional Olympic Ranking is published on the FIVB website, linked directly to the home page.
One team that will be for sure in Beijing (8 valid results, 7 gold medals) is the U.S.A. team composed by Misty May Treanor and Kerri Walsh, winner of the gold medal in Athens 2004 and the 2003, 2005 and 2007 SWATCH-FIVB World Championships. It is one of the best teams ever in the Beach Volleyball era. Since forming their partnership in 2001, May-Treanor and Walsh have compiled a 90-match winning streak (July 2003 to June 2004) while winning 83 pro Beach Volleyball titles in 117 domestic and international starts together to become the winningest women’s Beach Volleyball team in recorded history. During this period, May-Treanor and Walsh have compiled a 618-35 (90.1) match mark in the SWATCH FIVB World Tour competition.
Misty May-Treanor, 30 years old from Florida, tells about the next steps of the Golden Girls.
How is the preparation going for the new FIVB season?
“Kerri and I are very excited about the 2008 season. We are both getting ready physically and mentally for the tough road ahead of us. I feel that we are preparing very well and will be ready.”
Is Kerri ok after the surgery?
“Kerri is doing fine. Her shoulder is coming along nicely. I have no doubt she will be ready to go.”
On which FIVB tournaments are you going to focus?
“We plan on hitting most of the FIVB Grand Slams with some earlier and later regular FIVB tournaments in there as well. We would like to focus on all of them, they are equally as important.”
Your thoughts about Beijing?
“I am very excited about going to Beijing. I have never been there. Kerri and I have put so much into preparing for these Games. It can be very difficult to stay focused for four years but Kerri and I are very dedicated to being the best we can as a team. Kerri and I have had tremendous focus and with our new coach, we feel we are back on the right track and progressing to new levels individually and collectively as a team. We are very excited to represent the USA again.”
Who could be the big surprise on both sides (Men and Women) in Chaoyang Park?
“On the Women's side, I feel that every country is a threat. The Olympic Games brings out the best in people and all the teams that we face are great. On the Men's side, it would be awesome to see the USA on top but again, the competition is so fierce.”
Behind your team there is a big fight for the second U.S.A. Women’s pair. Who’s going to prevail?“I can't say who will prevail but it is going to be a battle. Three great teams are fighting for one spot. It is going to be fun to watch each of these teams come into their own and it will be great for the fans to follow as they race for the chance of an Olympic birth.”