Beach volleyball at the Rio Games in 2016 was a spectacle. Not only was the venue on Copacabana beach visually striking, but Brazil winning the men's beach volleyball gold in front of their fans in Rio de Janeiro was nothing short of storybook. Plus, the duo of Kerri Walsh Jennings and April Ross knocking off the heavily favored Brazilian pairing of Larissa Franca Maestrini and Talita Antunes was the one of the great comebacks in recent Olympic history.
Tokyo has all the makings of being just as special this summer, though it'll be tough to top what took place in Rio.
April Ross is set to return for the Tokyo Games, though she will not be partnered up with Kerri Walsh Jennings this time around. Ross is now paired with Alix Klineman. As the top U.S. beach volleyball pairing, Ross and Klineman came away with a silver medal at the 2019 World Championships.
As for the U.S. men, Jake Gibb is expected to return after a premature exit at the Rio Games. The 45-year-old has made appearances in four Olympics. If he successfully qualifies for Tokyo, he'll become the oldest beach volleyball athlete to ever appear in the Olympics.
Kerri Walsh Jennings and her partner Brooke Sweat failed to qualify for the Olympics, making this the first Olympics that Walsh Jennings won't be a part of since the 1990s. Walsh Jennings is currently the most decorated Olympic beach volleyball player to ever compete at the Games with three gold medals and a bronze from Rio in 2016.
New Faces to Watch
Taylor Crabb will try to change the United States' luck at this summer's men's beach volleyball tournament alongside Gibb, who is 16 years his elder. Crabb and Gibb won a gold medal together at the 2019 FIVB World Tour.