After Elite16 events in Rosarito, Ostrava and Jurmala, the next top tier Beach Pro Tour tournament will take place in Gstaad, a much-loved venue for the sport at the heart of the Swiss Alps.
Gstaad to welcome world’s elite for 22nd time
A favourite venue set to host fourth Elite16 tournament from July 6 to 10
Published 12:25, 27 Jun 2022
As many as 32 teams per gender will gather in the resort town in Switzerland from July 6 through 10 to battle for a prize purse of USD 300,000. It will be the first major international tournament after the Beach Volleyball World Championships Rome 2022, which were held in Italy from June 10 to 19.
It will also be the 22nd time Gstaad is the meeting point of the world’s beach volleyball elite. The town located at over a thousand metres above sea level, and inhabited by a population of about 10,000, has previously welcomed the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships (in 2007) and as many as 20 World Tour events.
The first World Tour stop in Gstaad took place at the turn of the century. It was a women-only Open tournament held in June 2000 and won by Brazil’s Shelda Bede and Adriana Behar. As of the following year, the town hosted a double-gender FIVB tournament annually, with the only exception in 2020, when the event was cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic.
It was an Open-category tournament until 2005, before being upgraded to a Grand Slam event in 2006, a year before the World Championships came to town and American pairs Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh Jennings on the women’s side, and Phil Dalhausser and Todd Rogers in the men’s competition triumphed as 2007 champions of the world.
The Gstaad Grand Slam tournaments continued through 2014. In the following two years, the event in the Swiss Alps was part of the Beach Major Series. After the introduction of the five-level star system in 2017, Gstaad welcomed three 5-star tournaments before the pandemic and a 4-star event in 2021, just before the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
May-Treanor and Walsh Jennings are certainly the most decorated team in the history of events in Gstaad. In addition to the 2007 World Championship, the American women’s pair won five World Tour gold medals at the venue. Brazil’s Larissa Maestrini also collected five golds in Gstaad, but with two different partners, three with Juliana Felisberta and two with Talita Antunes. The latter is set to play again in the Swiss event next week.
On the men’s side, Phil Dalhausser is the player to have topped the Gstaad podium the most often. In addition to winning the 2007 World Championships with Todd Rogers, Dalhausser also won a World Tour gold with Rogers, and one event each with Nick Lucena and Sean Rosenthal. Only two pairs have topped a Gstaad World Tour podium more than once. They were Brazil's Emanuel Rego/Ricardo Santos and Norway's Anders Mol/Christian Sorum. The Beach Volley Vikings will play in Gstaad again this year, this time as the reigning Olympic champions and newly-crowned champions of the world.
Brazilian pairs have won the most World Tour gold medals in Gstaad – eight for men and 10 for women, followed by US duos with five and six, respectively. Patrick Heuscher and Stefan Kobel, who won the men’s tournament in 2004, are the only Swiss team to have triumphed in Gstaad.