Film Room Friday

Film Room Friday: Rewind to Norway vs. Russia World Tour Finals Semifinal

It’s quite possible that, in early September of 2019, the beach volleyball world was treated to the Tokyo Olympics gold medal match. In fact, it would be a surprise if Russia’s Viacheslav Krasilnikov and Oleg Stoyanovskiy and Norway’s Anders Mol and Christian Sorum do not play a match of significance in Tokyo, considering that they have set themselves apart as a tier above everybody else.

The semifinals of the World Tour Finals proved as much. It was there that the Russians vanquished Norway, becoming the only team to beat the Norwegians multiple times on the season. Krasilnikov and Stoyanovskiy would go on to beat Germans Julius Thole and Clemens Wickler for gold, 21-16, 21-16, in a match that was closer than the score indicates.

But virtually anytime Russia and Norway compete in an elimination round, it could almost be viewed as the de facto gold medal match. The Russians won four events in 2019 and made the semifinals in four others. Norway won eight events and made the semifinals in three others, making it a legitimate guarantee that one of them — more than likely both — would be on the podium in every major event.

The semifinal above is a display of why.

On display are the two best blockers in Stoyanovskiy and Mol and the two best defenders in Sorum and Krasilnikov, who have combined to win the FIVB Best Defender three years in a row. It’s as high of a level as it gets. So enjoy the last of the holiday weekends, and watch what may just be the gold medal match come this July.