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The Norwegians pose with their trophy and medals at the Foro Italico

Anders Mol and Christian Sørum have won almost everything in international beach volleyball since the start of their sensational rise in 2018. They entered the 2022 season with titles from the Olympics, two FIVB World Tour Finals and four European Championships, but were still in the chase for the highest honour of them all – the title of world champions.

Their wait came to an end on June 19, when, after ten days of competition, the Beach Volley Vikings lifted the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championship trophy at the iconic Foro Italico, in Rome, beating 47 other men’s teams to the most coveted title of the 2022 international season.

The victory in Rome was the 20th in their international careers. Mol and Sørum also joined an exclusive group of players who have simultaneously held Olympic and world titles* and they were the youngest team to ever achieve that feat, with Mol aged just 24 and Sørum 26 when the two players lifted the trophy in Italy.

“We’re living a dream right now and we’ve been dreaming about winning the World Championship since we were little kids watching Stavanger for the first time,” Mol said. “Our partnership is still kind of recent. But now we have some titles under our belts and it’s still really hard to realize for us what it is that we’re living, because this is just a dream.”

Their triumph in Rome also erased what was arguably the biggest frustration in their still young careers. Mol and Sørum had a first opportunity to become world champions back in 2019, when they were already undoubtedly the best team on the planet. They had to settle for bronze, however, which was their worst result in a series of eight international events that summer, at which they also won six golds and one silver.

“We’ve been working hard for so many years, it’s been a dream,” Sørum added. “Everything that’s happened, it’s been really special, but winning the World Championship is even more so because this tournament is the reason I started to play and fell in love with the sport. We couldn’t do it in 2019, but we did this time and now we have all the titles. It feels crazy, difficult to describe. There’s a lot of hard work behind the scenes, but we also have so much fun on the court, so it doesn’t feel so hard. It feels like we’re living a dream.”

Mol and Sørum’s campaign in Rome left no doubts about how hungry they were to become world champions and further strengthen their dominance in international beach volleyball. The Vikings played great volleyball throughout the tournament and dropped a single set in the eight matches they played at the Foro Italico.

Their campaign in Rome started in Pool H, where they secured two-set victories over Italy’s Davide Benzi/Carlo Bonifazi, the Netherlands’ Leon Luini/Ruben Penninga and Chile’s Vicente Droguett/Noe Aravena to comfortably top the pool and advance.

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Mol and Sørum in action against Luini and Penninga in pool play

In the Round of 32, the Norwegians rolled to another sweep, this time against Dutch pair Stefan Boermans and Matthew Immers. The Olympic champions were challenged the most in the Round of 16 when they lost the first set to Austrians Robin Seidl and Philipp Waller but came back to win the match in three and move forward.

· Watch replays of the Beach Volleyball World Championships on Volleyball TV.

From that point on, Mol and Sørum only played Brazilian teams, topping Alison Cerutti and Gustavo ‘Guto’ Carvalhaes in the quarterfinals, Andre Loyola and George Wanderley in the semifinals and Vitor Felipe and Renato Lima in the gold medal match.

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The Norwegians were flanked by teams from Brazil on the podium

The tournament also marked Brazil's redemption at the World Championships. In the 2019 edition, the South Americans didn’t have a team on the podium for the first time since the tournament was created. In 2022, the country had three new players collecting medals, including 22-year-old Renato, his partner Vitor Felipe, and 2017 world champion Andre's partner George. They also had two other duos in the competition's top five, namely Alison/Guto and Saymon Barbosa/Bruno Schmidt.

Kusti Nolvak and Mart Tiisaar were also among the sensations of the event. The Estonians caused one of the biggest upsets of pool play, beating Dutch Olympic medallists and former world champions Alexander Brouwer and Robert Meeuwsen, and carried their momentum to the elimination rounds, advancing all the way to the quarterfinals, where they were stopped by Vitor and Renato.

*The list of teams which have simultaneously held world and Olympic titles includes: Jackie Silva/Sandra Pires, Ricardo Santos/Emanuel Rego and Alison Cerutti/Bruno Schmidt of Brazil, Kerri Walsh Jennings/Misty May-Treanor and Phil Dalhausser/Todd Rogers of the United States and Germany’s Laura Ludwig/Kira Walkenhorst.