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.
Kerri Walsh Jennings and April Ross are both aiming to return for the Tokyo Games, though they will not be partnered up again this time around. Walsh Jennings is now paired with Brooke Sweat and Ross has teamed up with Alix Klineman. 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.
Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena, both 41 years old, were unable to win a medal in Rio. Dalhausser led the United States to a gold medal at the Beijing Games in 2008, but has not taken home an Olympic medal since. The duo is competing to represent the U.S. in Tokyo, but to this point has not yet earned a spot for the competition.
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.