Dear Beach Volleyball Community

The ACTS Group is in the preparation progress for the A1 CEV Beach Volleyball European Championships 2021 in Vienna.

Key Facts:

  • Date: 11-15 August, 2021
  • New location: Heumarkt in the city center of Vienna
  • Floodlight night sessions
  • Entry only with ticket
  • 128 teams
  • Modified Pool Play

This way to the Beach Volleyball European Championships!
See you @ the beach!

2016-06-21 10:19:00 CET

Tuesday Talent – Nobody’s laughing at the Lion King

Aleksandrs Samoilovs’ aim to accomplish Olympic vision

The Lion King roared at the Gstaad Major last year. Photocredit: Samo Vidic.The Lion King roared at the Gstaad Major last year. Photocredit: Samo Vidic.

He’s the Lion King, Gstaad silver medalist and Grand Slam winner on a mission to realize a childhood dream – and ram the laughs back down the throats of those who mocked him at school all those years ago.

Step forward one half of Latvia’s charismatic pair Aleksandrs Samoilovs. With his flowing locks and Baltic charm – not to mention his impeccable beach volleyball skills – it’s hard not to like Samoilovs – even if he doesn’t like early mornings.

He and partner Janis Smedins hail from a country whose population is just two million. But that did not stop a 10-year-old Samoilovs expressing his desire to win a gold medal at the Olympics in school many moons ago.

“We were talking about the future and all of my class were laughing – I told them I wanted to be an Olympic champion,” Aleksandrs, now 31, told the FIVB YouTube channel. “Nobody is laughing now – nobody thinks it’s impossible.”

The rise of the Latvian pair has been remarkable and even an injury-hit season for Smedins last year hasn’t stopped the duo from rising in the rankings – and Rio is only a few weeks away. They can almost feel the Copacabana sand squeezing between their toes.

“We’ve had very good results, we’ve had the taste of winning on tour and we’ve found the killer instinct,” he says.

“The Olympics are always special and every athlete dreams to win a medal.”

While they face stern competition from the Brazilians and Americans, Dutch and Italians, those in Rio really should not take Samoilovs lying down.

Remember 2008 in Beijing? Aleksandrs with then-partner Martins Plavins created, according to some, “the biggest upset in Olympic beach volleyball history” by defeating eventual gold medalists Phil Dalhausser and Todd Rogers in the opening match of the pool play. It was a shape of things to come for Samoilovs – who had already hinted at his world class potential by winning the World Under-21 championships in 2005.

Aleksandrs and Janis keep their eyes on the prize. Photocredit: Samo Vidic.Aleksandrs and Janis keep their eyes on the prize. Photocredit: Samo Vidic.

His hair-raising record speaks for itself – we saw first-hand his breathtaking skills on the sand high in the Alps at our Gstaad Major last year. With Smedins, Samoilovs came oh-so close to winning gold, and had to settle for silver.

As a team their CVs stand out like a beacon – they’ve twice been named FIVB’s Team of the Year (in 2013 and 2014), while Aleksandrs’ trophy cabinet contains 17 medals – most of them gold. The last of which came at the Olsztyn Grand Slam last weekend.

Throw in Europe’s biggest prize – gold at the European Championships in Klagenfurt last summer –and you can be certain of one thing: the laughing in Latvia has stopped now.

Instead this summer, at our Majors, and in Rio, the Latvians will get behind their national beach volleyball heroes and hope the Lion King and his partner can tame the rest and roar to victory.

“And we’ll do our best to make our dreams come true,” says Aleksandrs.

Watch: Aleksandrs Samoilovs and Janis Smedins in action on their way to winning silver at the Gstaad Major last year, courtesy of our official YouTube channel.

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