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E-Mail: email@example.com COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (May 11, 2008)
- The U.S. beach volleyball team of Jake Gibb and Sean Rosenthal strengthened their hold on an Olympic berth by winning the SWATCH FIVB World Tour event in Prague, Czech Republic on Sunday.
Gibb (Bountiful, Utah) and Rosenthal (Redondo Beach, Calif.), seeded 13th, won their sixth-straight match of the tournament and got their fifth sweep in defeating 11th-ranked Julius Brink and Christoph Dieckmann of Germany in Sunday's final, 21-13, 23-21, in 47 minutes. The tournament was the eighth and final result Gibb and Rosenthal needed for consideration for the 2008 Olympic Games. Any further results they gain before July 20 can be used to replace poor results. Gibb and Rosenthal share a $28,000 first-place prize in claiming their second SWATCH FIVB World Tour gold medal.
The Americans' first title was in the 2006 season finale in Mexico as Gibb and Rosenthal failed to reach a FIVB championship match in six SWATCH starts last season. Gibb and Rosenthal, who was named the SWATCH most outstanding player for the Prague 2008 Open, placed fourth in the 2008 FIVB opener in Adelaide, Australia, after collecting two fifths, a ninth, a 13th and two 17ths in 2007.
"I think the big difference is that I am playing a lot better this year," Gibb told the FIVB. "With this event being part of the Olympic qualifying process, I realized that we did not help ourselves a lot last year in making it to Beijing. We were more focused with our preparation this year and it has helped us in getting to the semifinals in our first two FIVB events this season."
"Give the Americans a lot of credit for playing very well today," Dieckmann said. "We had our chances to send it to a third set after playing very poorly in the first set. They made some big plays at the end."
In the bronze -medal match, second-seeded Emanuel Rego and Ricardo Santos maintained the Brazilian men's streak of nine-straight SWATCH podium finishes by outlasting seventh-seeded Reinder Nummerdor and Richard Schuil of the Netherlands, 21-18, 19-21, 15-11, in 61 minutes.
There is more information and photos on the FIVB beach Web site at www.fivb.org/EN/BeachVolleyball/index.asp