On Friday, Joana Heidrich and Anouk Vergé-Dépré took on the role of history-makers in the women’s tournament, edging out Latvians Tīna Graudiņa and Anastasija Kravčenoka 2-0 (21-19, 21-15) for bronze. Whilst Latvia’s medal hopes were shattered for a first time at Shiokaze Park, the bronze medallists were all smiles, as they secured Switzerland’s first-ever Olympic medal in women’s beach volleyball. Compatriots Patrick Heuscher and Stefan Kobel had previously achieved the feat in the men’s event at the 2004 Athens Games.
"It’s a huge honour to represent Switzerland and it’s a dream come true that we won this Olympic medal. We hope to inspire a lot of kids to play beach volleyball in Switzerland," Vergé-Dépré said. "What we experienced as a team here is one of those stories you can’t experience in other environments. You go through so many emotions, ups and downs, over five years now. We had a back surgery, we had coronavirus, we had mental problems to motivate ourselves at the beginning of the pandemic... There was so much going on and I think overcoming this as a team will stay in our hearts."
Meanwhile, the USA reclaimed their reign in women’s beach volleyball. Alix Klineman and April Ross went undefeated on their way to gold, prevailing over Australians Mariafe Artacho del Solar and Taliqua Clancy 2-0 (21-15, 21-16) in the final. It is the USA’s fourth women’s title in seven Olympic beach volleyball tournaments.