Gstaad Major

FIVB Gstaad Major: Hey, Anders Mol and Christian Sorum, We Get It: You’re The Best in The World

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Photo credit: FIVB

A few weeks ago, Rich Lambourne was laughing when he saw a story about Anders Mol and Christian Sorum.

How many different ways, it wondered, could there be to write about these Beach Volley Vikings, currently on a torrid run of eight gold medals in 12 events?

Lambourne, an Olympic gold medalist and the coach of Jake Gibb and Taylor Crabb, pitched a headline of his own: “We get it.”

And, just in case anybody forgot, this weekend in Gstaad, Mol and Sorum reminded the beach volleyball world again: Yes, we’re still the best in the world.

Alright, guys.

We get it.

We get that a bronze medal in Hamburg for World Championships, which is, hilariously, incredibly, remarkably, an astonishingly low finish for Mol and Sorum, didn’t actually put anybody under the delusion that they were no longer the best team in the world. We get that Clemens Wickler and Julius Thole get hot at home in Hamburg, and they did, upsetting Mol and Sorum in the semifinals. We get that Russia’s Viacheslav Krasilnikov and Oleg Stoyanovskiy are as close to the top of the world as anybody not named Mol and Sorum.

But still, it is fun to get a reminder.

It’s fun to watch Norway win. Plain and simple. They make the difficult plays seem routine and the routine plays look staggeringly easy, which they’re not. Nothing is easy at this level. No matter how well Mol sets – and indeed he should be in discussions among the best on the planet at the skill – it’s still on Sorum to side out at the absurdly efficient clip at which he’s currently siding out. No matter how well Mol blocks – and he was named the best blocker in the world a year ago, along with virtually everything else there is to win – it’s still on Sorum to dig the volume of balls he does, and to subsequently side out those balls in transition, maintaining the side out efficiency he does in serve receive.

Gstaad was, ultimately, the reminder we didn’t need, but also the reminder that we may have wanted anyway. The beach world, frankly, is enamored with these Norwegians, as it should be. They’re a rare cocktail of humility, talent, athleticism, work ethic, affability, personability, self-deprecating and dominant, among a few hundred other adjectives.

It’s fun to see them challenged, as they have been these past few weeks. They lost the semifinal in Hamburg to Thole and Wickler, another young team that’s easy to root for, and were on the ropes against Tri Bourne and Trevor Crabb after dropping the first set for bronze. In Gstaad, they dropped a set in pool play, something they have only done three times since October, and one was to Thole and Wickler.

So, well, maybe we did need the reminder after all. It has become a strange event when Mol and Sorum lose a set, much less a match. Maybe it was good that they appeared mortal after all. So, yes, with a win in Gstaad, in which they became the second team in history to win there back to back, it’s reaffirmed that, yes, Mol and Sorum are still the best in the world, and it’s really not all that close.

Yes, we get it.