Beach volleyball bringing us all the good vibes
Anders Mol and Christian Sørum face Latvian duo Aleksandrs Samoilovs and Jānis Šmēdiņš in stunning Norwegian setting.
The picturesque island of Lofoten in Norway is known throughout the world for its rugged coastline, Northern Lights, dramatic scenery and fishing. It is not known for beach volleyball. Until now.
To inspire fans of the sport across the globe and to signal the return of beach volleyball after the majority of the 2020 season was cancelled, local stars Anders Mol and Christian Sørum showcased their sport in its purest and most natural form when they clashed with Aleksandrs Samoilovs and Jānis Šmēdiņš.
Lofoten is a cluster of islands in the Norwegian Sea, in the north of the country. Around 25,000 people live on the rugged islands, which are better known for snow and skiing than sun and sand.
Mol, 23, and Sørum, 24, have risen to the top of the men's world rankings on the back of a brilliant run of form that saw them triumph at the 2019 Gstaad and Vienna Major events and pick up bronze at the World Championships.
They were strong favourites for the Olympic title in Tokyo and made history in September, 2020 when they won a third straight EuroBeachVolley title in Jūrmala, Latvia.
With many big global events cancelled in 2020, Mol and Sørum welcomed the 2015 European Champions Samoilovs, 35, and Šmēdiņš, 33, for a one-off contest.
Rewatch the match in full from 5pm CET on September 3
Despite being a fresh location, the exhibition match was fiercely competitive and played under normal FIVB rules. The Norwegian duo came off second best against their Latvian rivals in the match (21:13, 21:17).
Afterwards, Mol said: “It’s really good to be here… and finally play some good volleyball. It’s been so long since the last time. It was a good match, a lot of good rallies. I can feel it’s a long time since we played a game… so we’re not so sharp. Hopefully we can have our revenge.”
It was fun to play, that’s the most important thing
Sørum added: “We hadn’t played a tournament together since September last year and we had some difficulties in the beginning, but we found a little bit more rhythm in the second set. It was fun to play, that’s the most important thing.”
The net was provided by the Good Net Project, a global partner of FIVB, who create their volleyball nets from waste and abandoned fishing nets found in the ocean.
In preparation for the match, Mol and Sørum travelled to Austvågøya, the northernmost of the major Lofoten islands, to scale the 150m high Svolværgeita towers, which are made up of two rock formations shaped like goat horns. Once at the top, a beach volley battle like no other took shape, with the duo passing the ball between themselves.