The mission is complete for Alison Cerutti and Bruno Oscar Schmidt as the Brazilians validated their success from winning the 2015 FIVB World Championships to capture the Beach Volleyball gold medal at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games here early Friday morning with a two-set victory over Daniele Lupo and Paolo Nicolai of Italy.
Played in a steady rain starting at mid-night at the 12,000-season “Coliseu on Copacabana”, the top-seeded Alison and Bruno posted a 2-0 (21-19, 21-17) win in 45 minutes over the 10th-seeded Lupo and Nicolai. It was the sixth win in nine international meetings for Alison and Bruno with the Italians with five-straight victories in the series.
The two teams were also meeting for the fourth-time in an international gold medal match with Alison and Bruno winning three times, including a victory in mid-March in Vitoria where the Brazilian live and train. In addition to the Olympic and world championship gold medals, Alison and Bruno have won eight other FIVB World Tour events.
The first set featured six ties and four lead changes as the Italians jumped to a 5-1 lead before being caught and passed by Alison and Bruno, who put together a 7-2 run to take a 13-10 lead. Lupo and Nicolai fought back to take a 19-18 lead before the Brazilians closed out the set with three-straight points featuring an Alison attack, an Italian error and an Alison block.
Lupo and Nicolai grabbed three-point leads at 8-5, 9-6, 10-7 and 11-8 to start the second set. A three-point run by the Brazilians tied the set at 11s as five side outs to follow to give Lupo and Nicolai their last lead at 14-13. At that point, Alison and Bruno scored seven of the last 10 points of the match to secure the win. Alison, who had six blocks in the match, fueled the charge with three successful attacks and a stuff.
While Lupo and Nicolai were securing Italy’s first-ever Olympic Beach Volleyball medal, Alison and Bruno became Brazil’s second men’s team to top a Summer Games’ Beach Volleyball podium. The legendary tandem of Emanuel Rego and Ricardo Santos were the first with a gold medal performance at the Athens 2004 Olympic Games.
The Brazilian men have also collect three silver (2000, 2008 and 2012) and one bronze (2008) medal in Olympic Beach Volleyball competition. Alison and Emanuel were silver medal finishers at the London 2012 Summer Games where the Brazilians were defeated in three-sets by Julius Brink and Jonas Reckermann of Germany in the finale.
With an Olympic medal, Bruno achieved something that his famous uncle Oscar Schmidt never accomplished while competing in five “Summer” Games’ basketball competitions for Brazil (1980-1996). Uncle Oscar Schmidt did score more career Olympic points (1,094, 28.8 points per game) than any other player in history while competing in Moscow, Los Angeles, Seoul, Barcelona and Atlanta Summer Games.
In a late match Thursday for the Rio 2016 Olympic bronze medal, second-seeded Alexander Brouwer and Robert Meeuwsen posted a 2-0 (23-21, 22-20) win in 46 minutes over the eighth-seeded Viacheslav Krasilnikov and Konstantin Semenov of Russia to give the Dutch their fifth win in six international meetings with the Russians.