Top beach volleyball stories to watch in Rio
Kerri Walsh Jennings returns
Kerri Walsh Jennings looks to secure her fourth consecutive gold at the Rio Olympic Games. Following the retirement of her former partner Misty May-Treanor, Walsh Jennings paired with London silver medalist April Ross. Should the duo win gold, Walsh Jennings would become the oldest beach volleyball medalist and the first volleyball player to win four consecutive gold medals. If the pair take silver or bronze, Walsh Jennings would be the oldest female beach volleyball medalist in history.
Brazilian beach volleyball rivalry
While the U.S. boasts top finishes from the legendary duo of Kerri Walsh Jennings and Misty May-Treanor, Brazil boasts the most beach volleyball medals overall. The U.S. holds nine medals while Brazil just narrowly tops the Americans with 11. Expectations are high for Brazilian players and fans alike.
Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena reunite after 15 years
Beijing gold medalist Phil Dalhausser is returning to the Games with his first ever professional beach volleyball partner Nick Lucena. Lucena and Dalhausser first took to the sands in 2003. The pair split after the 2005 season and Dalhausser went on to play with his two-time Olympic partner Todd Rogers. After a disappointing finish at the London Games, Dalhausser and Rogers split with Dalhausser forming a partnership with Sean Rothenthal. In 2015, Lucena took a shot in the dark and reached out to Dalhausser about playing together. Dalhausser jumped at the opportunity and the two set their sights on qualifying for the Olympic Games.
Canada’s Heather Bansley focused on Rio after narrowly missing London
Canada’s top ranked women’s duo of Heather Bansley and Sarah Pavan will look to contend for a medal at the Rio Games. Bansley narrowly missed a shot at the London Games with then-partner Elizabeth Maloney. The pair earned their nation a quote spot at the London Games but were defeated by compatriots Annie Martin and Marie-Andree Lessard at the Canadian beach volleyball trials. Now playing alongside Sarah Pavan, the pair will make their Olympic debut in Rio together.
The Rio Olympic beach volleyball tournament will be held on the iconic Copacabana beach. A temporary venue was erected in the sands with the Rio de Janeiro skyline serving as a scenic backdrop. The beach volleyball events were the first of any Rio Olympic venue to sell out.