Lausanne, Switzerland, September 12 - Just over a week after Anders Mol was named the most outstanding men's player on the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour, the 21-year-old Norwegian talked about a historic season for him and Christian Sorum in becoming the youngest beach volleyball team to lead the international circuit.
Mol and 22-year-old Sorum became the first Norwegian team to top the FIVB World Tour since 1994 when Jan Kvalheim/Bjorn Maaseide paced the world's best beach volleyball players by winning three of seven events with over $111,000 in earnings. Mol and Sorum finished the 2017-2018 FIVB season by winning three gold medals in 13 events with $283,500 in winnings.
While traveling from Europe to Hawaii for the King of the Court event in Waikiki, Honolulu, Mol was asked several questions.
Here is what the young Viking said.
Question - Outside of another year of experience, what was the big difference for your improved play during the 2017-2018 season?
Mol - The biggest difference this year has been that we have been able to keep a high level for a longer time. Last year we did beat some good teams, but we never went further than a quarterfinal. This year we have improved our "worst level", which means we can win games even though we have a bad day. I think that's our biggest improvement.
Question - For a five-week period, you and Christian Sorum were almost unbeatable. What started clicking for you and your partner?
Mol - We had a rough start to our season, and we couldn't really find a good rhythm in our play. But we started winning some close games in Espinho, and then we just kept rolling in Gstaad. We got more and more confident in our game and in ourselves. We truly believed and felt that we could beat anyone.
Question - Obviously, you and your partner are in a good place entering Olympic qualifying. Do you anticipate a different feeling entering the "Journey to Japan"?
Mol - We always had Tokyo 2020 as a big goal, and now it's definitely within reach. We know that all the other teams are going to practice a lot this winter and we will, of course, do the same! It's going to be a true battle about who's going to the Olympics or not, and we are really excited about it!
Question - With three FIVB titles and a European gold medal to your credit, do you feel that you and Christian have a target on your chest and everyone will be aiming to defeat the young Vikings?
Mol - We know that we are high on everyone's wanted list, but we don't really think about that so much. We just want to continue to improve our game and get even better than we are today. We have not reached our potential yet.
Question - Why do you think you and Christian are so successful at 21 and 22?
Mol - Because we have both had a strong dream about becoming the best players in the world, and we have truly believed that it could happen! And we have put in a lot of hard work and dedication through many years! We have also had an amazing team behind us with a lot of knowledge about beach volleyball. And we could not have done it without them. We also have a great volleyball academy called Toppvolley Norway which both I and Christian went to for three years. There we practiced twice a day and had a normal school programme. This was from the age of 16 to 19.