This week in FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour history featured the first-ever sanctioned beach volleyball event to be staged on the African continent with Cape Town hosting the elite international players from December 21 to 23, 1995.
With 42 players from 22 nations competing, Brazilians Ze Marco de Melo and Emanuel Rego captured the gold medal by defeating South American rivals Martin Conde and Esteban Martinez from Argentina in the final for their fifth World Tour title together.
During his 23-season FIVB career (1994-2016), Emanuel topped a World Tour podium in every month except November with three in December starting with a December 23 gold medal in Cape Town in 1995 with Ze Marco.
Emanuel has played in more FIVB events (256) than any other men’s or women’s player in history along with being the all-time leader in gold medals (77), earnings ($2,562,273), tournament finals (114), podium placements (155), final fours (171), matches played (1,531) and won (1,241).
In winning his first 15 gold medals with Ze Marco, Emanuel’s tenure with his second FIVB partner also produced a 205-44 match mark for 40 World Tour events as the 82.3 winning percentage ranks the best-ever for any FIVB men’s team in recorded history. Norway’s Anders Mol and Christian Sorum are second at 82.1 perncent (119-26).
Three beach volleyball Olympians who combined to compete in seven Summer Games and win 21 FIVB gold medals during their careers are celebrating birthdays this week starting with Austrian Alexander Horst, who turns 38 today. A three-time Olympic participant, Horst has captured two FIVB titles with eight overall medals.
Patrick Heuscher, who turns 44 on Tuesday, is also a three-time Summer Games performer and captured the bronze medal for Switzerland at the Athens 2004 Olympics with Stefan Kobel. The pair also captured eight FIVB titles, including three World Tour gold medals at events in Switzerland (Gstaad 2004), France (Paris 2005) and Italy (Roseto degli Abruzzi 2006).
American Nancy Reno, who turns 55 on Thursday on Christmas Eve, won 10 World Tour gold medals and placed fifth at the Atlanta 1996 Olympic Games with Holly McPeak. Reno and Karolyn Kirby also teamed to win the first-ever FIVB-sanctioned event in 1992 at Almeria, Spain.