Gstaad, Switzerland, July 14, 2018 - Anders Mol and Christian Sorum became the third youngest men’s team to win an FIVB event here Saturday as the Norwegians became the first pair from the Scandinavian country in over 20 years to win a World Tour gold medal by defeating Spaniards Adrian Gavira and Pablo Herrera in the finals of the $600,000 Gstaad Major.
Seeded 15th in the second Beach Major Series event on the 2017-2018 FIVB calendar, the 21-year-old Mol and 22-year-old Sorum posted a 2-0 (21-18, 21-12) gold medal win in 34 minutes over the sixth-seeded Gavira and Herrera, who were playing in their 100th World Tour event together as compared to the Norwegians’ 14th.
With a combined age of 43 years, seven months, 20 days, Mol and Sorum rank behind Brazil’s Andre Lima/Guilherme Marques (combined age of 42 years, one day, who won in 1990 at Sete, France) and Russia’s Maxim Sivolp/Igor Velichko (43 years, six months, 11 days, who won in 2017 at Qinzhou, China) as the youngest team to win an FIVB World Tour gold medal.
With their sixth win of the week in the Swiss Alps Village, Mol and Sorum split the $40,000 first-place prize. Saturday’s match was Mol and Sorum’s second gold medal match this season with a setback in the Itapema Open finals in mid-May to home-standing Brazilians and 2017 world champions Evandro Goncalves and Andre Loyola.
Gavira and Herrera, who split $32,000 for their silver medal finish, are now 3-6 in FIVB World Tour gold medal matches, including a championship title last month in Ostrava, Czech Republic. The Spaniards also topped World Tour podiums in Moscow (2015) and Xiamen, China (2016).
Spain's silver medal winners Adrian Gavira (left) and Pablo Herrera
The last gold medal victory by Norway on the World Tour was in 1998 when Vegard Hoidalen/Jorre Kjemperud defeated Brazilians Guilherme Marques/Rogerio ‘Para’ Ferreira in Berlin on July 5, 1998 in the 77th FIVB-sanctioned men’s event. The Gstaad Major is the 400th men’s event in the history of the 32-season tour that started in February 1987 in Rio de Janeiro.
Since the 1998 Berlin finale, Norway has appeared in only two men’s gold medal matches. The first Viking team to reach an FIVB men’s gold medal match was Tarjei Skarlund/Martin Spinnangr as the pair was defeated in two sets by Germany’s David Klemperer/Eric Koreng on July 4, 2010 in Stavanger, Norway.
In the bronze medal match, 12th-seeded Daniele Lupo/Paolo Nicolai of Italy out-lasted 21st-seeded Taylor Crabb and Jake Gibb of the United States 2-1 (17-21, 21-16, 20-18) in 56 minutes. It was the second meeting this week in Gstaad between the two teams with the Americans defeating Lupo and Nicolai in a three-set pool play match on Wednesday.
The All-European podium in Gstaad with Spaniards, Norwegians and Italians
Lupo and Nicolai, who lead the series with Crabb and Gibb 3-1 with each match being a three-setter, shared $20,000 for the bronze medal win while the Americans split $16,000 for fourth-place. All five of Crabb and Gibb’s Gstaad matches were three setters.
To reach the Gstaad Major finale, Mol and Sorum scored a 2-1 (17-21, 23-21, 16-14) win in 52 minutes over 21st-seeded Crabb and Gibb. In the 15th FIVB meeting with the Italians, Gavira and Herrera posted a 2-0 (30-28, 21-18) win in 47 minutes over Lupo and Nicolai to gain an 8-7 edge in the series.
Hitting at the Gstaad Major net is Paolo Nicolai (right) of Italy against 42-year old American Jake Gibb in the third-place match