Gold medal beach volleyball match pits Australian duo Artacho del Solar and Clancy.
M. Artacho Del Solar Olympic Games Tokyo 2020
After defeating Latvia in the semi-finals, Australians Mariafe Artacho del Solar and Taliqua Clancy will compete for the women’s beach volleyball Olympic gold medal.
They had already defeated the top-ranked Canadian duo to get to the semifinals in Tokyo, and on Thursday they followed it up with a decisive 23-21, 21-13 victory over Tina Graudina and Anastasija Kravcenoka.
After the historic gold won by Natalie Cook and Kerri Pottharst in Sydney 2000, Australia is guaranteed to win a second Olympic medal in the sport when they face April Ross and Alix Klineman of the United States in the final.
“Nat’s kept in touch with us and we know Kerri has been building us up over the commentary,” Clancy said to Channel Seven after the victory.
They’re awesome; they’re one of our largest supporters and they recognised our potential and appreciated our efforts.
In the first set, the Kingaroy duo of Clancy (Australia’s first indigenous beach volleyball Olympian) and Artacho del Solar (born in Peru) got off to a great start, leading 17-13 until the Latvians called a time out and won four straight points to tie the match.
Clancy calmed the crowd with a powerful spike winner on the second try, while del Solar kept her cool to serve out the set on their third set point.
The Latvians, who had previously defeated the Australians, came out strong in the second set, taking an early three-point advantage.
But after a brief break, Australia came out strong and evened the score at 10-10 on Clancy’s powerful serve, seemingly breaking the Latvian defence.
“Nerves are normal, but you strive to turn them into positive fire, enthusiasm, aggression,” Artacho del Solar explained.
“Gold, honey. It’s going to be a great game, and we came here for the gold.”
The United States will win a beach volleyball medal at the Summer Olympics for the eighth time in a row. That’s every one since the event was included in the schedule for the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta.
Up until recently, no other country has come close to matching Brazil’s accomplishments. For the first time, it was completely shut out in Tokyo, with no teams advancing to the semifinals.
Ross, who previously won silver in London and bronze in Rio de Janeiro, will now have a hat trick of medals to his name. Klineman has never competed in the Olympics before.