Olsztyn, Poland, July 20, 2017 - At 44-years old, John Hyden was by far the oldest player competing in the $300,000 Warmia Mazury Olsztyn Open here Thursday as the two-time American Volleyball Olympian teamed with a former professional baseball player to win their opening pool play beach volleyball match at the FIVB World Tour event.
With their 2-0 (21-11, 22-20) Pool D win in 33 minutes over 20th-seeded Grant O'Gorman/Michael Plantinga of Canada, the 13th-seeded Hyden and Ryan Doherty are guaranteed a spot in Friday afternoon’s elimination bracket and can secure a bye to Saturday morning by defeating fourth-seeded Gustavo "Guto" Carvalhaes/Pedro Solberg of Brazil Friday morning.FIVB.com - Beach VolleyballLatest VideosFacebookTwitterInstagramMedia Guides
As the oldest player to win a FIVB World Tour event, Hyden and partner Doherty are seeking their fourth appearance in an international quarterfinal this season after placing fourth, fifth, 33rd and fifth in their previous four 2017 starts as the pair is playing together for the first time this season.
Hyden set the “oldest” mark (41 years, eight months, 15 days) at a 2014 FIVB World Tour stop in Berlin as he and Tri Bourne posted a 2-0 (21-17, 21-11) gold medal win on June 22 over Doherty and Nick Lucena in the all-American finale.
While Doherty is playing the Polish event for the first-time, Hyden has placed fifth the past two season at Olsztyn’s Lake Ukiel venue with Bourne. With Bourne sidelined this season with health issues, Hyden and Doherty joined forces and placed fourth in their first event in mid-February at a United States stop in Fort Lauderdale.
When the Americans meet Guto and Solberg Friday, it will be the second match between the two teams as Hyden and Doherty posted a 2-1 (21-16, 17-21, 23-21) elimination win on May 19 over the Brazilians on their home sand in Rio de Janeiro. Guto and Solberg opened play Thursday with a 2-0 (21-15, 21-15) Pool D win in 37 minutes over 29th-seeded qualifiers Armin Dollinger/Jonathan Erdmann of Germany.
This week’s FIVB World Tour stop is the final event prior to the 11th edition of the FIVB World Championships where play begins July 28 in Vienna. A total of 48 men’s and 48 women’s teams will be competing in the $1-million event with the women’s medal matches on August 5 and the men’s finales on August 6 in the Austrian capital.
When Hyden steps onto the center court at the 2017 FIVB World Championships July 29 in Vienna when he and Doherty challenge compatriots Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena, he will become the second oldest player to compete in the event. Russian Vladimir Kostioukov was 44 years, 10 months and 30 days when he played in the 1997 FIVB World Championships with Hyden being 44 years, nine months and 21 days.
It should be noted that Kostioukov played only in the qualifier for the 1997 FIVB World Championships in Los Angeles where he placed 41st with Dmitry Areshkin. Hyden and Doherty are guaranteed a 37th in Vienna. American Beach Volleyball legend Sinjin Smith was the third oldest to play as he was 44 years, two months and 25 days for the 2001 world championships with Carl Henkel in Klagenfurt, Austria.