Anders Mol and Christian Sorum reserved the first place in Saturday’s gold medal match, securing Norway’s first ever Olympic medal in the sport after a straight-set win over Latvia’s Martins Plavins and Edgars Tocs on Thursday. In the Olympic final, the Norwegians will be challenged by ROC’s Viacheslav Krasilnikov and Oleg Stoyanovskiy. The world champions shut out Qatar’s Cherif Younousse and Ahmed Tijan in the second semifinal of the day, and are now just one win away from adding the Olympic title to their collection of honours.

Mol and Sorum were clearly the superior team on the court throughout the first set of their match against Latvia. With his fantastic blocking effort, Mol practically owned the net, and the Norwegians cruised confidently to a dominant victory. The second set was slightly more competitive, but only enough for the Latvians to trail by a smaller margin. In the epilogue, the Scandinavians stepped up the pressure and Sorum hit the winner for the 2-0 (21-15, 21-16) win.

“I don’t think we actually believe this yet. I’m getting goose bumps just hearing this. It’s amazing!” Mol told Volleyball World after the match. “We want to call ourselves Olympic gold medallists, for sure. That’s even more special, but now we have an Olympic medal in beach volleyball! We are Norwegians! We’re not supposed to get a medal from beach volleyball. We’re supposed to ski, you know. We are so proud! We have so many people who have been working hard for this and we have so much support from them that this is really a victory for the whole Norwegian volleyball community. In the final, we are going to give it our all and really go to war for this gold medal.”

“Every match is different and we have to find a way to win,” added Sorum. “We did that today. In the last match, against the Russians, Anders had one block and I had to dig more, and today they were spiking a lot more so he had to do more blocks. I think we played a good match today as well.”

Another monster block by Mol

Another monster block by Mol

The first set of the semifinal duel between the teams of Qatar and ROC was really tight. Cherif and Ahmed managed to recover from a three-point deficit and work out a two-point lead of their own, but, in the money time, Krasilnikov and Stoyanovskiy stayed more focused to grab a narrow edge. After 11-11 in the second set, the Europeans took the lead for good. They kept the pressure on to increase the gap until Stoyanovskiy closed it off at 2-0 (21-19, 21-17) with a monster block.

“It’s the final of the Olympic Games! I’ve dreamed about this since we started playing together as a team,” Stoyanovskiy told Volleyball World. “We are really grateful and happy that we won today. The guys from Qatar were on fire. This year they played five or six finals and they are the World Ranking leaders right now. We know they play really well. We lost to them in our last match, but we know that we are also one of the strongest teams in the world and we proved it in this tournament. We had a bad start in the pool, but then we improved from game to game and it gave us confidence for this match. Norway have also been one of the strongest teams over the last two or three years. They play really well and I hope the final is going to be a great game. We’ll try to enjoy it.”

“This is my goal, this is my dream. We have one more match ahead of us. Oleg and I will do everything to win that game, but for me what we have done so far is already an accomplishment,” said Krasilnikov.

The gold medal match between Norway and ROC is set to take place on Saturday at 11:30 local time in Tokyo. 90 minutes earlier, at 10:00, Latvia and Qatar will lock horns for the bronze.