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By B.J. Hoeptner Evans
Julius Brink and Jonas Reckermann became the first European team to win Olympic Gold
London, England (August 9, 2012)
Germany's Julius Brink and Jonas Reckermann wasted three match points, but won gold with the fourth as they beat Brazil's Alison Cerutti and Emanuel Rego 23-21, 16-21, 16-14 at the London 2012 Olympic Games on Thursday. It means they become the first European side to win an Olympic beach volleyball gold medal.
The match was a clash of the 2009 FIVB world champions, Brink and Reckermann and the 2011 world champions, Emanuel and Alison. Emanuel was also looking to add a second Olympic gold medal to the one he won at Athens 2004 with Ricardo Santos.
Alison scored the first point with a trademark block at the net. The sides then went back and forth on the scoresheet, until the Brazilians edged ahead. They let two set points slip though and the Germans took advantage by winning the set with the first chance they had.
Emanuel and Alison hit back from the start of the second set and quickly began to build a lead. Emanuel found his form at the back of the court, while Alison was his usual powerful presence at the net. The Germans saved one set point, but a Brink service error allowed the Brazilians to draw level.
The teams continued to push each other hard from the start of the third set. Germany grabbed the initiative and built up a four-point lead. Emanuel and Alison saved three match points to draw level at 14-14, but the Germans immediately gained another and when Emanuel's shot dropped wide, it gave Brink and Reckermann the win and the gold medal.
In London the teams were divided equally into six pools of and the teams played each other once in their group. The top two advanced to the single-elimination knockout phase that began on August 3 along with the two best third-placed teams. The remaining four third-place teams competed in playoff matches to determine which pairs filled the final two places in the 16-team elimination bracket's first round.
Sixteen teams qualified for the Games through the Olympic Ranking which is based primarily on world tour standings. Five more joined as winners of the AVC, CAVB, CEV, CSV and NORCECA Continental Cup Finals, and two from the World Cup Olympic Qualification Tournament. Great Britain was granted a berth as hosts.
The sold-out beach volleyball competition at the London 2012 Olympic Games was held through Aug. 9 in a purpose-built 15,000-seat stadium on the grounds of Horse Guards Parade in central London.
Brink and Reckermann Win Men's Beach Volleyball Gold in Thriller