Hamburg, Germany, Aug. 18, 2018 - Ssshhh, don’t wake these guys up. They’re living the dream.
Putting the cap on one of the great runs in their sport’s history, the Norway Beach Volleyball Vikings - the rest of the world is quickly becoming acquainted with Anders Mol and Christian Sorum - stormed to victory on Saturday to capture the Beach Volleyball FIVB World Tour Finals presented by Vodafone in resounding fashion.
They picked up the richest prize in history with a $150,000 paycheck after their 2-0 (21-19, 21-17) victory over Poland’s Grzegorz Fijalek and Michal Bryl at Stadion am Rothenbaum, the tennis stadium that will host the 2019 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships.
They are setting a pretty high standard for them or anyone to overcome in a run that began in Gstaad, Switzerland in July. Now Mol and Sorum have won four consecutive tournaments, including the European Championships, and pocketed more than $253,000, a record run over four consecutive tournaments. The previous mark was by United States legends Karch Kiraly and Kent Steffes, who pocketed $245,000 in 1993-94.
“I don’t know what has happened the last month,” said Mol, the multi-talented 21-year-old. “It’s been unreal. The whole journey has been unreal for us. We did not expect this. Our goal for the season was to take a medal and we did that already in Brazil in Itapema in May. We had to reach for a higher goal and of course that was to take a gold medal.”
Now the Vikings are simply plundering gold. At one point they had a 22-match win streak, including the European Championships, and have won 24 of their past 25 matches. That’s all those match victories and four titles in 34 days.
“We always believed we could do good on the court for sure,” said the 22-year-old Sorum. “We knew we had a level, but we had some bad tournaments, had some struggling and we managed to fight through those periods and suddenly it just fell. After Gstaad, everything was just a good flow for us.”
After a victory over Spanish Olympians Adrian Gavira and Pablo Herrera in the Gstaad Major, they went to The Hague and defeated Latvian Olympians Aleksandrs Samoilovs and Janis Smedins in the Euro final. Then it was the Vienna Major and a final victory over Fijalek and Bryl prior to the World Tour Finals.
Two months ago, they weren’t even playing together as their partnership endured a one-tournament hiatus.
“We were kind of doubting the season right there, really angry we didn’t play as good as we did before,” said Mol, the World Tour Finals MVP. “We found our way and now we’ve won four tournaments in a row and the four most important tournaments of the year.”
They spoiled a breakthrough run made by Fijalek and Bryl.
“We don’t know how to beat them just yet,” Bryl said. “Hopefully we can do it in the future. In this match, it’s hard to tell what we did wrong. They played well, and they deserved it.”
“We had chances in the first set, but we didn’t take advantage of them,” Fijalek said. “But they are in great shape and have been the best team of the season for sure.”
A dream season.