The Olympic athletes and Spanish cheerleaders returned to Beijing’s Chaoyang Park June 6-11 but the crowds didn’t quite follow. Brazil’s Alison Cerutti and Emanuel Rego used a first place finish at the inaugural $600,000 FIVB Beijing Grand Slam as a pit stop on their way to a World Championship victory last Sunday in Rome. On the women’s side, Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh relieved their 2008 Olympic glory with a gold medal in Beijing but had to settle for a silver a week later at the World Championships in Rome. Brazil’s Juliana Felisberta Da Silva and Larissa Franca are the new women’s world champions on the Swatch World Tour circuit. With existing tournaments in Sanya and Shanghai, the Beijing Grand Slam was the third FIVB stop in China over a six-week stretch. Audience members were sparse, with the exception of televised matches, when sudden influxes of visitors wearing matching t-shirts were brought in to raise attendance at the 12,000-capacity beach volleyball ground up into the hundreds. More photos from the tournament can be viewed here.
Photos and story by Jeremy Breningstall.