2017-01-24 17:32:00 CEST
A win in Fort Lauderdale would cement this legend’s position at the top of the beach volleyball record books
Phil Dalhausser has won Olympic gold and played at the highest level of beach volleyball for as long as he can remember – yet he’s still not satisfied.
Together with Nick Lucena – one of the few American teams still together for the 2017 Swatch Major Series following an off-season full of splits – Phil is demanding more success over the next 12 months on the sand. That includes a right go at become World Champion when the World Championships comes to Vienna in August.
Looking back at last season, the 36-year-old collected an impressive haul of four gold medals from 13 tournaments – including first place in the smart Major Hamburg. The only disappointment was fifth place at the Rio Olympics. For most, that kind of result at the world’s most iconic event would be considered a major triumph. But, for a man who scooped Olympic gold in 2008 and stands in third in the list of most successful international beach volleyball players, then you see why he wasn’t exactly jumping for joy on the Copacabana.
On Thursday this week, Phil will celebrate his 37th birthday. In two weeks’ time he and Nick will be back out on the sand as beach volleyball bursts back on to the sand at the eagerly anticipated Fort Lauderdale Major.
Should Phil and Nick do precisely that and strike gold at the first time of asking at the Fort Lauderdale Major then it will extend Phil’s run of winning at least one FIVB title each year to 12 seasons. Nobody on the Tour can boast that kind of record.
Success in Florida would also be sweet for the duo for another reason. Their first appearance together came at the AVP Fort Lauderdale Open back in April 2003. On their debut, the pair finished in 41st place, they earned no prize money and they picked up a modest 12 ranking points for their efforts. Oh, boy a lot has changed since then.
Phil was just 23 then. That seems a very long time ago – especially when you consider he has gone onto become of the legends of the game and enjoy a golden career at the beach. Thirty-four international wins in 100 tournaments, 15 silver medals and 12 bronze medals – it’s the kind of record players could only wish for.
The last time Phil came off the sand in Fort Lauderdale he had a silver medal hanging around his neck following the 2015 Swatch World Tour Finals. Can he go one better this year?
“I’ve played on that beach numerous times, I remember when I first started out and played in amateur tournaments there,” Phil told us during an exclusive interview back in November after he added yet another award to his ever-growing trophy cabinet.
Can the Thin Beast deliver the goods on home sand on what will be tournament #101.
He’ll be hoping so. And so will thousands of beach fans who will flock to Fort Lauderdale for six days later next month.
What a week it promises to be…See you at the beach, Phil!
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