FIVB World Championships

FIVB World Championships: No Medal, But a Big Finish For Tri Bourne and Trevor Crabb Nonetheless

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It has been one of Tri Bourne’s most frequent motifs over the past few years: Few things are worse in beach volleyball than fourth place. One day, you’re in a semifinal, competing for a shot at a gold medal.

The next, you’re off the podium, a heart-wrenching one spot out, watching as two teams who snuck past you wear medals around their necks and chomp into them for the cameras and return home with something to show for it.

On a podcast a little more than a year ago, Melissa Humana-Paredes agreed with that sentiment.

“The worst,” they labeled fourth. More painful than not making it to Sunday at all.

Not ideal, no, but the worst? Far from it.

Bourne and Trevor Crabb will not have any tangible trinkets or prizes or awards from these World Championships in Hamburg, Germany – although splitting $28,000 isn’t too shabby – but they will have something far more valuable: points. Oodles and oodles of points.

Those are what really matter in this Olympic race. Points and finishes. In taking fourth in Hamburg, Bourne and Crabb, perhaps surprising some, took another big jump forward in the Olympic race, extending the gap between themselves and Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena another 160 points and Jake Gibb and Taylor Crabb 360. The fourth in Hamburg is worth double that of their fourth at the Las Vegas four-star and 520 more than a win at the Qinzhou three-star.

Simply put: A fourth in Hamburg is a damn good finish, medal or not.

Beyond that, too, Bourne and Crabb, if they hadn’t already, established themselves as legitimate world tour contenders. The jury was still out, at least a bit, prior to World Championships. They were a relatively new team. Bourne was coming off an injury that sidelined him for nearly two years. Both played right side for their entire careers. Both blocked for their entire careers.

Could they actually compete, consistently, at the highest level in the world, after switching sides, splitting positions, with one of them coming off a two-season hiatus?

The answer, as proven in Hamburg, was a resounding yes. Their road was one that included a 21-18, 21-18 win over Konstantin Semenov and Ilya Leshukov, the same Russian duo that had clocked them in Ostrava barely a month ago. It included a three-set comeback win over Brazilians Andre Loyola and George Wanderley, who snuffed them in the bronze medal match in the Jinjiang four-star. It included pushing gold medalists Viacheslav Krasilnikov and Oleg Stoyanovskiy to three sets, something that no team had managed to do all tournament. And it included doing the same, in the bronze medal match, to Norwegians Anders Mol and Christian Sorum.

Only two teams in the entire tournament managed to take a set off both the Russians and Norwegians. Bourne and Crabb were one of them.

It was not the podium finish they sought, no. But it’s still a career-best for both at this event, Crabb’s first on this stage. It’s still a jump in the Olympics race.

It’s still a massive step in the right direction.

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