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All in the family: Norway advances to the semifinals

All in the family: Norway advances to the semifinals

Even as the pandemic kept most of the family at home, Norwegian beach volleyball player Anders Mol has many relatives around him in Tokyo.

His father Kaare is the coach, and his uncle is in Tokyo as the team’s assistant coach. Mol’s brother and his cousin also came as training partners.

“It’s like we’re in a family business,” Kaare Mol said after his son and Christian Sorum beat the Russian Olympic Committee team in straight sets to advance to the semi-finals.

Facing a team that had beaten them in the group stage, the top seeded players defeated Ilya Leshukov and Konstantin Semenov on Wednesday 21-17, 21-19. The Norwegians advanced to the semifinals to face Latvia, who eliminated Brazil and 2016 gold medalist Alison in the second game of the day.

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Qatar will meet Italy and Germany will face the second Russian duo in the other quarterfinal ties later on Wednesday.

Mol and Sorun took first place in the Olympic seeding by finishing at the top of the International Volleyball Federation ranking. To do so, they spent about 250 days of the year on a tour over a three-year period, which was extended by the COVID-19 pandemic, Kaare Mol said.

The coaches split the trips, so Kaare Mol toured with her son for about 150 days. With the pandemic’s restrictions limiting the number of people who were able to travel to Japan, Mol is one of the few parents who can see her son compete.

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“When you are at an Olympics. I don’t feel like he’s my son. He is my athlete, ”said the oldest of the Mol. “Father-son time is when you hug him at the end of the game. It is then that you feel like a father ”.

Alison won the gold medal in Rio alongside Bruno Oscar Schmidt, extending a tradition that has made Brazil one of the most decorated countries in beach volleyball.

But the Latvian duo of Martins Plavins and Edgars Tocs edged out Schmidt in the round of 16 on Monday, then did the same to their 2016 teammate with a 21-16, 21-19 win on Wednesday.

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Only one of Brazil’s two women’s teams reached the quarter-finals, meaning the powerhouse could say goodbye to Tokyo with a medal at the most. It would be his worst performance in the discipline since it was added to the Olympic program in 1996.

The United States also has only one team in the semifinals and can match their worst performance in history.

“Latvia, Switzerland, Norway. No more the United States and Brazil, the United States and Brazil, ”Alison said. “The future of beach volleyball is here.”

Meanwhile, Latvia is the one with the most teams alive in the tournament. Tina Graudina and Anastasija Kravcenoka will play the semifinals of the women’s division on Thursday.

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